Encoding of a Password

Sallie Petty
  1. Use unimportant dates: Need some numbers, but don’t know what to do? Use dates that you will remember, but are fairly unimportant to you. I often use holidays that are not particularly important to me, but will give me a series of numbers I can remember. I then mix them up in a pattern of some sort. You can write this pattern down without giving away your password. For instance, using the last day of May and St. Nick’s Day we get the numbers 5, 31, 12, and 6. You could write down “1M, 2D, 1D, 2M.” In this case, that means you would have 563112. It’s a seemingly random sequence, but one that makes sense to you.
  2. Use the names or initials of a friend or friend’s pet: Combine a friend’s initials with an animal you know and you have some great “random” letters. Or combine a first initial with a first name or middle name. Capitalize only the animal’s initial or just your friend’s, and it’s easier to remember.
  3. Use symbols you can make some “silly” sense of: When I first made a password I put two exclamation points after a pet name, so when I would type my password in, I would always shout the pet name in my head. Sounds silly, but I never forgot those symbols. When using the ampersand I put an “and…” in my thought process. When using a dollar sign I hear “cha-ching.” Making your symbols fun makes them easier to remember.
  4. Change your password often: As for a unique password for every site, who’s got the time and brain-power for that? I have three or four passwords I use at any one time. I put in my calendar to change them all every six months, because honestly, that is a good practice, and I wait a year before re-using a password. I never reuse a password on a site it has been used before. In order to remember which of my passwords is on each page, I have a little note that says something like “Visa: Petbestiecha-ching1M2D1D2M” this tells me everything I need to know to identify which password I have used for that particular site.



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