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Back to September 2013 ITS Newsletter

My Experience with Longer Passwords

By Mary Fiore

At the Staff Assembly Meeting on 10 Sep 2013, Dave Smallen gave a very interesting and timely talk on Information Security.  As a part of his discussion, he referenced the importance of secure passwords.

This reminded me of my time working at the Rome Research Lab.  The Lab was very conscious of security and secure passwords.  We were encouraged to use passwords that were sentences and/or phrases that had meaning to us.

We all need to remember lots of passwords for all sorts of websites, at work and in our personal lives.  While we shouldn't use the same password for multiple sites, we can try making it easier to remember our passwords.

If you love sports, make your passwords about sports.  Here are several examples –
"Friday it's golf lessons"
"2014 going to soccer in Spain"
"if it's Tuesday it must be tennis"
"my racing car team in 2014"

You may not always get your passwords correct on each site each time.  But if the phrases are meaningful, you are more apt to remember them.

You can also make your passwords part of your goals –
If your goal is to participate in the Triple Bypass Ride in Colorado, then maybe your training password can be "bike 10 more mountain miles".

Of course, there may be a limit to the number of characters that are accepted by any website.  But if we can make our passwords meaningful to us, we will remember them – and maybe they can keep us motivated too!