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26 December 2010

The TSA Guide to Password Security

Inspiration: Walsh, Ivan. The Mel Brooks Guide to Super Strong Passwords. Business Plans for Smart People. Posted 25 December 2010, downloaded 26 December 2010.

This year, we learned about the TSA patting down five-year-old Christian boys, strip-searching sixteen-year-old girls, x-raying congressmen and celebrities, and sending 56-year-old rape victims into flashbacks and panic attacks, while waving-through young Muslim men and protesting imams.

In the spirit of shutting the barn door after the cows have already escaped, we can learn fine lessons from the current administration about how to set up strong passwords.
  • Always make passwords no more than six characters in length so you can type them quickly.
  • If you absolutely must use an acronym, use an obvious one like rotflmao or wysiwyg.
  • Use just lower case letters in your passwords. No need to use mixed case, numbers, or annoying symbols that require using the Shift key.
  • Using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols will just confuse you.
  • Don't make embarrassing spelling mistakes.
  • Substituting look-alike numbers or symbols in your passwords (for example, pa$$word or V1agra) will make you feel clever.
  • If you use multiple words, make them easy to remember by using common terms or phrases like threeamigos, myhump, or JoeSchmoe (or whatever your name is).
  • Use familiar, publicly available terms such as your name, address, high school, or Twitter ID.
  • Another clever password consists of a sequence of letters or numbers, such as 123456, abcdefg, or qwertyu.
  • Even more clever, you could combine the name of the website with an easy-to-remember sequence, such as facebook123.
  • Birthdays, family members' names, and celebrities' names are perennial favorites sure to stir sentimental memories.
  • Nobody would ever guess a word spelled sdrawkcab!
  • Just in case you need to remember a password when you're not at home, always store a list of all your passwords online.
  • Once you establish a great password, why ever change it? Hackers would never collect information about you or use one account to exploit other accounts before doing something obvious.
Finally, relax! Forget about Wikileaks, hundreds of millions of stolen credit card files, hacked Facebook accounts, and spyware-infected computers. Enjoy life. Hackers who figure out your password for one account would never figure out that it works for all your other accounts, too.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! and keep your password in your wallet so when you lose you credit card... ha hahahaha