6 simple tricks for protecting your passwords

security

In an interesting article by Maria Korolov, she offers some basic tips on ways to select secure passwords. Some of these you may have already tried, but some might be new to you.

1. Letter substitution cipher: a=b

Letter-substitution ciphers have been around almost as long as alphabets. Each letter is replaced by either another letter, a number, or a symbol – just like the cryptogram puzzles in the Sunday newspaper.

2. Letter substitution cipher: a=s

This one works great if you’re a touch typist. Simply move your fingers one key to the right when you type in your passwords. “Cat” becomes “Vsy.”

3. Never write down encrypted passwords; banana, not nsmsms

It might seem more secure to write down, say, “nsmsms” instead of “banana,” then enter “banana” as your password into the actual website, deciphering the code in your head.

4. Use earworms to your advantage: Wheels on the bus go round and round

You can use a prayer you’ve memorized, or speech, poem, or song. If you can’t memorize any at all, you can use one you can easily look up online. But really – you don’t have a single song memorized?

5. The mnemonic code: a=alpha

But why bother writing down a list of words when you can use a memorization trick that stage magicians have used for centuries – mnemonics?

Start with an alphabet you know well, such as “a is for apple, b is for banana” or “a is for alpha, b is for bravo.”

Then use the word that corresponds with the first – or the last – letter of the site you want to memorize the password for.

6. Add site name to end of password: banana-twitter 

To ensure a unique password for every single site – without having to write anything down – add the name of the site to the end of the password, suggests Luis Corrons, technical director of cloud security vendor Panda Security.

7. Expiration date trick: banana-q1-14

Simply add the year and the quarter to the beginning or the end of the password. So, if your base password is “banana,” you’d have “banana-14-q1” or “banana-14-q2” or “banana-2014-h2.”

You can read her complete article here.

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