Forgotten Your Password?

I was just reading an interesting blog article titled “Forgotten your password? Google can find it for you. Unfortunately“. The article discusses a potential security vulnerability having to do with the way that passwords are stored in many of the databases of the various web sites we all visit. Now I’m not technical enough to explain this properly, but I “get it”. And what it boils down to for me is that this is yet another reason not to use the same password over and over for all the sites you visit.

Personally I’ve always been paranoid about relying on one password. This is because I’ve been witness to organizations with very lax data security standards; I’ve seen databases that held usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and expiration dates along with billing addresses but which were unsecured and free to be copied by any employee in the whole company. One disgruntled employee who copies a database like that could do a great deal of damage to the people whose data resides there. I’m paranoid about that one disgruntled employee.

As the computer industry, and especially the web, ages and matures we see a greater attention to security, and disgruntled employees can do less and less damage. But still, it seems there’s always some new threat that some brilliant hacker has just figured out.

So what I do is to use a different password for each site I visit. And then I keep track of those passwords by writing down codes for them which no one but me would understand. For example, if I used the password Purple890 I might code it for myself as notRedX09. And then when I see notRedX09 I would associate notRed to mean Purple and I would know that X means the number 8 and then I would know that the last two numbers are simply reversed.

If you are confused that’s the point. The point is that I encode my passwords so that the associations to the encoding are mine and mine only. I encode them using connections to concepts or numbers or patterns which occur in my head alone. And that means that unless you plan to torture me you are not going to figure out what all my passwords are.

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2 Responses to “Forgotten Your Password?”

  1. cancuncanuck
    November 26th, 2007 20:34

    I have a code too, had it for years and often change it up. It’s more about letter switching rather than word play, but I like yours. I have a word and just replace the first consonant with the first consonant of the web address or name of the website and add a short series of numbers which I rotate. Is that confusing? 🙂

  2. RiverGirl
    November 26th, 2007 22:15

    Confusing is perfect, so long as YOU remember it and no one else gets it.

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