Thursday, August 13, 2009

Passwords, a necessary evil

It seems you need a password for everything we do in this today world. I seen a sign on the door of my local NAPA parts store that read, You must have your PIN to blank blankity blank. You need a password at the bank, to read your email, post to Facebook, and I even need one to enter these words into this Blog. We have all been warned on password edict, but do we head the warnings, a simple answer for most would be NO. I worked for a large company that required a password to log on to use any computer in the building. The password had to be changed every 30 days. It was a nightmare after a few months, as not only me but most forgot the new password. We could remember last months but not this month's. It was impossible to reset the password that had to be used. As a safety net we all wrote our new password down on a list stored in an unlocked file cabinet, making the complete list available to all. We/I could log on with any other person's password, making the system a complete joke. At home I try to keep all sensitive information off of my computer. I keep my check register, license plate numbers, PIN and passwords, and other sensitive information on a thumb drive that yes, this USB drive requires a password to activate. The gurus that write books on password protection tell us to use long and case sensitive ones, but do you do this, NO. I use a little trick called a pass phase, like, "a big fat cat lives in heaven on Jan 1". Use the first letter of each word for your password. This would translate as, "abfclihoJ1". this is a password that is case sensitive and longer than 8 numbers and letters. Now, don't forget the pass phase, Ha ! Have 3 or more pass phases, If you use the wrong one try the others. I know most of you just use one password and it is your pet's name or something as simple. Try the pass phase to see if its for you. The best idea is make a list on paper and keep it hidden, like on a page in a book. Tell your wife or parent where it is, as they may need it if you are dead. My wife knows the password to access my USB thumb drive.