Cutting Room Floor

Guilty of "Password"

You read all the time that passwords need to be "secure," and by that I assumed the experts meant don't use "password" as your password. Though it turns out "password" is the most commonly used online password, followed by "123456," and "qwerty" (if that means nothing to you, just look at the top row of letters on your keyboard). PC Magazine has the list in their May 8th issue. I've never used any of those, but I thought I was some sort of creative genius for years because I used the easy-to-remember "letmein" to login to some of my less than urgent accounts (read: not banks, etc). "letmein" is the #5 most used password... I am humbled, and am probably not the only one, "monkey" is #6, "blink182" is #9, your own first name is #10). You can find the rest of the list here. While I go change my passwords, are there any passwords you've used over the years that, looking back, seem a little dumb?

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No comment on my own passwords. But the best way I know to generate a good, solid password is to use Diceware (http://world.std.com/~reinhold/diceware.html). Its author ought to get an award for having such an incredibly clever, simple idea. It's a set of tables. Using them, you roll dice to create a random password or passphrase (a series of words). Rolling dice makes the result entirely random and virtually impossible to guess.

Unfortunately, a random password can also be hard to remember. You can either write it down and carry it in a safe place, like in your wallet, or you can use software like Password Safe (http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/) to store it. Or you can do both: get one of those little USB flash drives, put a copy of Password Safe on it, and clip it to your key ring.

Sent by Jeff Cours | 12:20 PM | 5-7-2007

For websites that require a login just so they could capture personal data I was using my pet's name. I knew it wasn't secure but in the years since my cat passed away. Now I have a unique and random password. I would not suggest that others take this route as the passing of my cat was quite sad.

Sent by Sara Fluskey | 8:56 AM | 6-27-2007

Most of my passwords (such as an old one: "omicron omicron alpha yellow daystar two seven") come from various books and episodes of Star Trek Next Gen. This may not be secure in the sense of having many types of characters, but they can get pretty long. I once used Prospero's "Graves at my command..." monologue from The Tempest.

Sent by Nicholas | 8:45 PM | 7-20-2007