I recently attended the PTRA (Power-Motion Technology Representatives Association annual conference where John Weeks, CEO of Intelliquest Consulting, Inc discussed how to set up secure passwords.
Most of us already know the basics of setting up passwords - use a different password for every site; use letters, numbers, and symbols; the longer the better. The real problem with passwords, isn't coming up with a tough password, it's remembering the password after you set it up!
So John suggested using a mnemonic. A mnemonic is a memory aid, a "short rhyme, phrase or other mental technique for making information easier to memorize" (Encarta Dictionary). John, like other security experts, suggests creating a phrase that means something to you or picking a phrase from a book, song or movie that you find easy to remember and use the 1st or 2nd letter of each word to set up your password. And then just to make it harder to crack add a number or symbol somewhere in the password.
Here are some examples:
From "A Tale of Two Cities" - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" becomes iwtbotIwtwot59. The 59 signifies the year of publication (1859).
From "Over the Rainbow" - "Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high" becomes sotrWUH39. Again the 39 signifies the year of publication (1939).
From "Gone with the Wind" (movie) - "After all, tomorrow is another day" becomes a@Tiad39. And again the 39 signifies the year the movie was released (1939).
Choose several phrases that you'll easily remember and then build on them for different sites by using Capital letters, numbers or symbols. Here's what I mean:
bea@Tiad39an - I added "be" and "an" to the "Gone with the Wind" phrase to point to a password for LL Bean.
In MRSWARE we use several passwords - one to login to MRSWARE, one for e-mail, one for MRSWARE Sync, one for MRSWARE Mobile. We strongly suggest our Users have different passwords for each area as well as logging out when not using the application.
Remember to keep it simple and have fun. After all, keeping your information secure is something worth remembering!