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Getting back to work after the holidays can be tough, especially if your password expired while you were out of the office or you have turkey induced memory loss (like me) and have forgotten your password.
As access to your company network on mobile or home devices becomes more common, your password requirements to log into networks or applications will be more stringent, requiring "strong" passwords that need to be changed more often. Strong passwords are generally longer, include different types of characters and are as random as possible to make it harder for outside sources to guess passwords and get unauthorized access.
This also makes passwords more difficult to remember, especially if you need to change it every few months.
Here are some differences between strong and weak passwords:
Weak passwords include:
Strong passwords include:
Now that you know the basic elements of strong and weak passwords, here is one method you can use to build a meaningful, strong password.
First, try using a phrase or selection of words or characters that are meaningful to you (but not obvious to anyone else) as a base word. As an example, I decided to go with a theme and used a line from "Auld Lang Syne":
SOABF ("Should old acquaintance be forgot")
Next, you can add some lower case letters to make the password meaningful for the log in. I decided that this password should be for a home email account, so I added some meaningful letters after the uppercase letters.
If you were using this for work accounts, here are some examples of meaningful lower case letter additions - just make sure that you are not using full words.
Now that your password is more meaningful for the login, you want to add some numbers. You should avoid using strings of numbers that have meaning, like birthdays, anniversaries or addresses, but you can add punctuation or substitute numbers for letters. In this case, I switched the "O" for a zero.
This is a good password, but still not strong enough because it needs at least one symbol. Here, I switched out the "S" for a "$".
When you go to change the password next time, you can change the base word using a new song, quote or reference, substitute in numbers and symbols as I did above and you will have another seemingly random, strong password.
This is not the only method that you could use to choose a strong password – you can also use a random password generator and create an "after the fact" mnemonic.
First, get a random, strong password using a password generator like this one here:
This password generator asks you how complicated your password needs to be and we suggest checking off all of the criteria, but I did not include symbols in this example.
Here is the password that the generator returned:
Now, you need to make up a phrase to fit the characters that the password generator returned. This is what I came up with for this password:
R - Ringo
A - And
6 - Six
r - rascals
a - arrested
s - sunday
W - While
u - underwater
This is a perfect mnemonic for me, because it is a slightly silly "Yellow Submarine" reference that I will remember every time. If you come across a password that you cannot make up a phrase for – try another!
Looking for an overall solution for passwords? Fully Managed® can help you manage passwords across all devices. Contact your consultant or send a message to email@example.com for more information.