A system for secure passwords – don’t forget them anymore

German: SICHERE PASSWÖRTER MIT SYSTEM – KEINE ZUGANGSDATEN MEHR VERGESSEN

The Problem

Remember a lot of passwords that should be secure at the same time

Secure passwords have become more important than ever. Ever since we have started using the so-called web 2.0, we store sensitive data on many websites and services. Everyone has their own system for this. And most of those systems aren’t really systems and not are secure at all. Many people use the same password for many services. Would one get hacked, all others would become useless and no social network or online banking would be safe anymore.

The biggest risk is your email account. Once hacked, the attacker could set back every other password even if one uses different ones for many websites. That’s why you should use a so-called “two-step-verification” for at least your email account. That’s a method where you don’t only have to enter your password but also a temporary code which will be sent to or created on a trusted device you choose while setting it up.

But not all providers offer that method. Google was one of the first ones, social networks like Facebook and Twitter adopted it. And Apple has something they call “two-factor-authentication” although it’s doesn’t really contain what it is.

Back to our problem. These are the requirements for a good password:

It should…

  1. not be too short (min. 12 symbols)
  2. contain both lower and upper case letters
  3. contain symbols
  4. contain digits
  5. be used only once
  6. be changed every now and then

So it’s not really hard to accomplish those requirements. But it would be hard to remember 50 passwords (I have almost 300 so far) which accomplish those requirements.

XuMUU0b

© McAfee, Intel

And since they advice you against storing them inside electronic safe software or writing them down (where you wouldn’t have access to them when away from home), we need to find another solution. And that’s your brains. And now comes the system you have all been waiting for. I use it to secure all my 400 accounts with different, secure passwords. And you can do it at ease as well.

The solution

The Password-Algorithm

Don’t be afraid! You don’t need to learn any memorizing technique like thinking of a story and walk along a path. This system is a lot easier.
It goes without saying, that I won’t publish my system 😉 But the system can easily be altered which I was going to do here. That will make it impossible for you to guess my password. And that’s what makes it so secure.

So first of all, we are going to chose what I call a “master password”. And it’s helpful if that contains some of the requirements already. So lets say a lower case letter, an upper case letter, and a digit. I choose:

Banana2015

In the next step we gonna accomplish the other requirements and make it unique and easy to remember at the same time. I do this by personalizing it to the respective website or service we want to use it for. We choose the following algorithm (no worries, it sounds harder than it is):

[first letter]+[last letter]+[amount of letters]+[underscore]+[master password]

So we concern to the respective website. Maybe an online shop or a social network. So as you might have noticed, we accomplished the rest of the requirements: symbol (underscore)and unique passwords.

Examples

Let’s do an example to clarify it. I choose Google for this case. So our end result would be:

ge6_Banana2015

 

See the algorithm in it?

Google’s first letter = g
Google’s last letter = e
Amount of letters = 6
The underscore _
And last our master password = Banana2015

Since I used 2015 inside my master password, it would be really easy to change it annually and to be remembered to change it. Let’s say if you still use a password which contains 2015 and it’s in the middle of 2016, it’s definitely time to change that password 😉 Maybe to ge6_apple2016

Your turn

So now you can create your own algorithm. For those of you who are not so creative it might be enough to change the master password only and use the system I provided in here.

I just wouldn’t use to exotic symbols and start with a letter because some websites have special requirement. And as soon as you have to depart from your system, it’s becoming harder to remember and gets useless.

I know it takes some effort but I still recommend to update all of your password to a system like that. I’m sure most of your passwords are older than one year so it makes sense anyway 😉

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