Safe Passwords

One of the banes of modern existence is the need to create (and remember) passwords for all the computer programs we use. Because this poses a significant challenge, many folks just use one or two basic passwords. While simplicity is often a virtue in life, this is one area where it pays to be complicated. After all, when you make it easy for yourself, you often make it easy for someone else to guess your password.

So what shouldn’t you use? (Hint: all the password shortcuts you and I have been using.) Here are a few obvious and painfully common nonstarters:

  • your name or the name of a family member or pet
  • your birth date or the date of an important event
  • your address or phone number
  • any identification number associated with you (e.g., social security or drivers license)
  • any word in the dictionary (regardless of language)
  • anything that your friends would know about you (e.g., your favorite sports team)

So what’s left? Here are a couple of quick videos with some good suggestions for creating safe and secure passwords. First is the brand new Common Craft video on creating safe and secure passwords. The second video (posted below) is a collaborative effort by Google and AARP.

[Photo Credit: Mental Masala]

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