You can lock every door in your house but if you leave the garage door open, or a window ajar thieves can rob you blind. Passwords are much the same; If they are not unique and at least a little complicated they just won’t work. Here are several techniques I put together with a little web research:
Try a Nursery Rhyme?
One method to come up with a complex password that will pass every IT security policy, even those with 15 character passwords is the nursery rhyme technique.
How does this work? Start with a memorable nursery rhyme, capitalize the first letter of each sentence, replace certain letters with numbers, and follow that up with an exclamation point or some other symbol at the end. For example, take the nursery rhyme Little Boy Blue, which goes like this:
“Little boy blue, come blow your horn. The sheep’s in the meadow. The cow’s in the corn.”
First drop everything but the first letter of each word: LbbcbyhTsitmTcitc. Now transform that replacing any “s” with “5” and any “L” with a 1 or a 7. Now we have: 7bbcbyhT5itmTcintc. Throw in a special character or two and every security geek will be proud of you: “7bbcbyhT5itmTcitc!
That’s a 19 character password that includes numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and special characters.
How About Word Combinations?
Correct Horse Battery Staple.
We’re often tempted to throw in a bunch of zeros for “O’s” and ones for “L’s” in our passwords or even add an incrementing number but the truth is these measures barely rankle hackers. Instead try using a gibberish phrase like “correct horse battery staple.” It’s long and sneaky, contains at least one special character and is strangely easy to remember.
DON’T use this example though, I am pretty sure it has worked its way into the hackers encyclopedia of passwords.
Are You A People Person?
Try the PAO Method (Place – Person – Action – Object)
This theory was put forth by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists who suggest using the Person-Action-Object (PAO) method to create and store your unbreakable passwords.
Select an image of an interesting place (Mount Rushmore). Select a photo of a familiar or famous person (Beyonce). Imagine some random action along with a random object (Beyonce driving a Jello mold at Mount Rushmore).
The PAO method of memorization has cognitive advantages; our brains remember better with visual, shared cues and with outlandish, unusual scenarios. Once you create and memorize several PAO stories, you can use the stories to generate passwords.
For example, you can take the first three letters from “driving” and “Jello” to create “driJel.” Do the same for three other stories, combine your made-up words together, and you’ll have an 18-character password that’ll appear completely random to others yet familiar to you.
Don’t Assume, Put It To The Test
Got a great password that you love to use? Perhaps it is fairly complex and easy to remember? Want to make sure that you aren’t leaving the window wide open on your data? Run your password through an online password checker like the one at http://password-checker.online-domain-tools.com/.