We’re supposed to use “unique passwords.” This means that we can’t use the same password for everything. We should use one for windows, a different one to log into the core, a different one for e-mail, a different one for the imaging program, etc.
We’re also supposed to use “strong passwords” (and yet not write them down.) A strong password conforms to six factors:
- Upper case letters
- Lower case letters
- Special Characters
- At least 8 characters long
- No dictionary words
We’re not allowed to write passwords down.
I know, this seems nuts. But the password is our front-line of defense. And there really is a simple way to remember your passwords while keeping them strong and unique.
The best way to use unique, strong passwords without writing them down is to use what we call “the core password” approach. This approach uses the same password, but a different password, for every account you have.
For example: let’s use the following as our core:
Manifesto –> M@n1f_st0
Then you use descriptors before or after the password to help you remember what it’s for. Such as:
Of course, because of technical difficulties, it doesn’t always look like the above list. Some applications do not allow the six factors. So we really end up with something that looks more like this:
• Upperlower1 (for your core processor)
• 1834 (for your voicemail)
Yes, that voicemail code stands for Payton Manning, Walter Payton. This could be a problematic voicemail pin if everybody knows that you follow Payton Manning and Walter Payton. It would be better to use numbers that are not predictable, and stay away from using easily guessed pins like your birthday.
The descriptor scheme could be flipped for non-business passwords, but the “core password” should be different as well. It could be based on the first letters of a sentence, such as, “I use a different core password at home.” Something like: 1U@dcp2h
Then we have:
• 1U@dcp2h _home
• 1U@dcp2h _online
• 1U@dcp2h _hotmail
• 1U@dcp2h _yahoo
• 1U@dcp2h _quicken
• 1U@dcp2h _my
• 1U@dcp2h _fb
• 1U@dcp2h _youtube
“What about amazon and itunes and such?” you may be wondering. Unless you are a regular shopper, simply approach the issue knowing you intend to use the “forgot-your-password-feature” right under the yellow button on the sign-in page.
The core password is difficult to explain, but very easy to understand once you catch on. It is a great way to use unique but strong passwords.
Let me know if I can help you come up with a few of your own core passwords until you catch on!
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