Passwords: Friend or Foe?

D-Day, 6th June 1944.
 
If you encounter someone and you’re not sure which side they’re on, use the following:
 
Challenge: Flash.
Password: Thunder.
Response: Welcome.
 
If the response sounds like ‘Velcome’… proceed with caution.
 
The meaning of ‘password’ has changed a little since that day. Nowadays, anyone who uses the Internet is familiar with the basic idea: a great many websites try to persuade you the user, in one way or another, to ‘register’. Every time you succumb to the lure, you are faced with the need to create a ‘password’.
 
What constitutes a ‘good’ password?
 
Long passwords are strong passwords. Strong passwords include a mixture of upper-case (capital) and lower-case letters and non-letters. There are many ‘non-letters’, but the simplest ones to find are numbers (0-9) and those characters accessed on a standard keyboard by using the SHIFT key and a number: for instance SHIFT-1 is ‘ ! ‘, SHIFT-6 is ‘ ^ ‘ (although beware: not all keyboards are the same!).
 
One ‘rule of thumb’ is to ensure that a password you choose requires both hands to input it. If someone is peering over your shoulder and sees you hit the ‘p’ key, that someone may not spot that you have the SHIFT key held down (which of course makes it ‘P’, not ‘p’).
 
A password such as ‘ksH3wN$7Jjs6’ is pretty strong. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really count as a ‘good’ password – because it’s not particularly easy to remember.
 
One way to create a ‘non-weak’ password that IS easy to remember is to take two words and put a number or a ‘shifted number’ between the two.
 
A password like ‘Lion2Fish’ is still fairly strong. And although it contains nine characters, you only have to remember three things – ‘Lion’, the number ‘2’, and ‘Fish’. Ok, make that four things to remember, since you have to remember to start each of the words with a capital letter. Although you could turn that on its head, and make the ‘fourth thing’ be to remember to start with a lower case letter and have the others as capitals.
 
Strangely enough, what we end up with is: 
 
gOOD-pASSWORD!1
 
Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story.
 
Because that’s just ONE password.
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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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