Saturday, 15 August 2015

Passwords - are y0urs awes0me or awfu1?

The longer the password, the harder it is to 'guess.' But the easier it is to type incorrectly...

Many systems require passwords to be at least 8 characters and include at least one capital letter and at least one number.

Of course nobody would write their password down on paper, or in their organiser... Would they? DON'T write it down, but it is a good idea to type all of your account passwords et cetera somewhere safe, and easy to access, maybe a draft email? A private Google Doc? A note on your PIN protected phone?

Use a Master Password

A master password is short simple word that contains a capital letter and at least one number, you use this in ALL your passwords, just adding on an extra word (or even 2?) that relate to the different accounts you use.

For example let's say my master password is Koala, turn the o and the l into numbers - K0a1a. Now when you create a new account, let's say to use here at UWC, my new password would be K0a1aUWC. Easy. 

Now apply that to other accounts you use, eg:

K0a1ahotmailhome
K0a1ayahoo
K0a1agmailwork
K0a1afacebook
K0a1atumblr

This way you avoid using the same password for everything, but in a way, it also is one password for everything. Nice.

Obviously keep your master password top secret—a note on your (PIN protected) phone? And just in case someone does get a peek at your list of passwords over your shoulder, don't type out all the characters, just create an an obvious clue to you, but not to anyone else, example:

Skype username: thingummywhatsit
Password: Master/Dad's dead dog: K****P****3!

As you use your Mac password to unlock your Mac probably 20 times a day, (or, you should be) it might make sense to use the master password on its own, to make things easier. You will be using it a lot, so you will be able to touch type it in no time.


View the Prezi below for the ultimate guide, and use this with a class to guide students through the process of creating their own secure passwords, note that is plural!


Passwords; are yours awe50me or awfu1? on Prezi


When you use the change password feature in Google (at school or at home) this also updates the school password.

Here's the link: https://webapps.uwcsea.edu.sg/chgpwd/Login.aspx



Top Tips

Use a master password, and combine that with other words for different accounts.

Brainstorm a 'collection' of passwords you can cycle, use, reuse.

  • Maybe places you love, 
  • OLD phone numbers? 
  • The first line of an address of a member of your family, eg Grandad? 87Sn0dberrylane
  • A deceased pet? 
  • A member of your family’s middle name? Grandparents first name? 
  • An obscure town village you know well, eg How about ba11yki55ange1?

Then combine two of these to make a much tougher password, ideally words that are NOT in the dictionary.

Create an online (eg, in Google Drive/Dropbox/Draft eMail) private document to record these, type these with asterisks and one character clue, eg *****3t***3* to indicate character count, and a clue as a prompt, eg, My Dad's dead dog and cat.

That way if anyone does read your document, it's still no use to them, but still very useful to you.

Substitute numbers for letters that look similar. The letter ‘o’ becomes the number ’0′, l = 1, 5 = S, eg p455w0rd!

Maybe throw in a random character like !?#*

Use something that will not change, because it is in the past, eg NOT your 'best friend'.