Albrighton & Woodland Hunt

Help with Passwords

Passwords serve two functions, to enable you to get where you want to go and to prevent others from going where they are not wanted. It is all too easily forgotten that everyone on the planet has access to this websites. Anyone could be looking at the page you are viewing now right now.

It is therefore only sensible to ask users to ensure that they have a strong password. So what constitutes a strong password? The technical answer is a mixture of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters. These are \.[!,@,#,$,£,%,^,&,*,?,_,~,-,(,),],{,},+,/ At this point most people look blank and give up.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. The most important thing is that it should be something that you can remember. If you need to write it down, it’s not a secure password. Don’t laugh, I’ve actually seen passwords on post-it notes attached to peoples monitors!

Many people use their partners or siblings first names or their pets name as a password. Hands up all those who are guilty. If you’re trying to guess the password of someone you know that makes it pretty easy. The next choice is usually a common word. This too isn’t much use, password hackers start by comparing the password with a dictionary. This usually finds most passwords in less than a second!

So how do you have a password that you can remember that isn’t a recognised word? There are a number of ways for example vehicle registrations make good passwords. Let’s take the registration R123ABC This is fairly good as it stands, it’s six or more characters long and a mixture of numbers and upper case letters, but we can do better. Make the first letter lower case and add a couple of special characters. It now becomes [a123ABC] this should be easy to remember and is a good strong password.

There is a convention (known as Leetspeak) for replacing letters with numbers and with the help of this easily remembered words become very strong passwords.

The convention is as follows:

     s becomes 5      i becomes 1    a becomes @    t becomes 7

     e becomes 3     g becomes 9    b becomes 8    o becomes 0 (nought)

Yes it does look a bit complicated at first, but it does become easy to remember. Let’s look at some examples:

horses would become h0r535 If we make the r an R and add just one special characters we would get h0R535! That’s a very strong password. The trick is not trying to remember the password as it appears but in remembering the original word and which numbers substitute letters.

hounds is surly next on the list, that would be h0und5 change d to D and add ? we get h0unD5?

Let’s try cats & dogs pretty useless as it stands, but when it becomes c@7&D095 how’s that for a strong password.

Even password itself becomes p@55w0rd add uppercase and special characters and you get something like p@55&w0RD

You can always make up your own conventions, anything you like just so long as you can remember it.

Please don't use any of the examples above, they would be fairly obvious as well!

One last thing to consider, if you use the same password on every site you visit, then if someone finds your password they have access to everywhere you go!

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