Digitally Safer–One Password at a Time

Creating Solid, Sound Passwords

Creating a password that is difficult for a password cracker program to crack has been a longtime passion of many computer geeks like us. However, figuring out a way to have mere mortal, ordinary users create a solid password that they can remember can be a great challenge. If a user’s identity is compromised, then the compromiser has legitimate access to the system. Not good!

A sure-fire way to create a password that looks randomly generated but is relatively easy for the user to remember is to…abstract the password from a sentence! This takes some practice but by doing so, you will help all the users become partners in securing their identities both at work and at home.

Create a sentence that is meaningful to the user and apply these password parameters:

  • 8-10 characters total
    • Uppercase and lowercase letters
    • 2 special characters, not placed at the beginning or end
  • No two adjacent identical characters
  • No characters that spell words
  • Maintain a connection to the user and the sentence—this is key!

Here are two examples:

  1. Marcus is a non-IT coworker who is a marketing wizard but has a tough time remembering his password. He uses a sticky note and keeps his password under his keyboard. You have a chat with him and find out that he enjoys fast cars and peach cobbler. Hmmm…

The marketing wizard loves fast cars and peach cobbler!

T                     W        < 3       f           &         P e

(<3 looks like a sideways heart as students have pointed out!)

Have Marcus type the created password several times, saying the sentence internally. Not only have you helped him create a sound password, but also you have given him a method for changing it before it expires.

2.  Matilda excels in project management and has a grandson she adores named Luke. You have already coached her past the LUKE1 password phase, but there needs to be a better way! Here is just one sentence:

Luke is my precious grandson and I look forward to all those hugs and kisses!

L      z             P          g          &         I                       2                                  K

Have Matilda type the created password several times, saying the sentence internally. She will catch on!