Creating the perfect password isn’t necessarily easy. In between school, online banking, e-mail, credit cards, student loans, paying bills, and social networking, I easily have over twenty different accounts that require a username and a password. Although it’s embarrassing to admit, my first password attempts were easy. Try “password” easy. As I’ve gotten older and wiser, my password habits have changed. Of course, it may only be fair to admit that my easy password habit was broken mostly by the fact that the majority of websites now place strict requirements on acceptable passwords.
Some sites simply require that your password be over a certain number of characters. Others, however, require you to include a capital letter, a number, and a symbol. Even if a website doesn’t require a particularly complicated password, it’s still best to choose passwords that aren’t necessarily easy for someone else to guess, which means staying away from obvious and easily-guesed choices.
The first step to finding the perfect password is realizing that you shouldn’t use the same password for everything. Even though this means that I now have more than five passwords to remember, I’ve come up with a system that works for me. I think of my passwords as puzzles, with different components. Depending on the venue, I place the pieces in a different order, or choose to leave some pieces out. This means that my password is quite adaptable but is also memorable. It also means that when I forget what my password is for a site, I can usually guess it within three or four tries.
As tempting as it may be to leave your password near your computer space, that ultimately defeats the purpose of a password. Keep a list of your passwords written down somewhere secure in your house, just in case.
For children, it’s also important to emphasize that they shouldn’t be sharing passwords with their friends or staying logged into websites. I’ve seen lots of kids taken advantage of by friends who thought they were being funny, but were really being inappropriate.