Operating System Security

Passwords, Security, and Beyond: Creating a Password

Passwords are nothing new. The provide a secure way to access information that only one person should have access to.  Under normal circumstances, this shouldn’t be a problem, but when the human condition of greed and evil are taken into consideration, passwords suddenly become a big deal: they are a bunch of characters that provide access to your entire life. But a lot of passwords aren’t taken seriously, like those that are only used on one account, or that are protecting things that aren’t really worth anything. These passwords are usually easy to guess, are not stored properly. This is exactly what you want to avoid. So in this two part blog, I’ll go over two of the most essentials things know about passwords: how to make a secure password that you will remember, and how to keep it that way.

So, there’s the password for your email, facebook, twitter, amazon, reddit, spire, ucard, personal laptop, phone, wireless, and one of the many online homework sites that used across campus. Each come with their own rules- length, capital letters, numbers, special characters. That’s a lot to remember, and more to even create. So just for today, lets focus on making a secure password, and one that will be easy for you to remember.

1.) Use something unique that only you will know.

The time tested method that everyone as been using since passwords were made. While this may be easy for you to remember, it might also be very very insecure. And since social media posts things like birthdays, names of pets, and the middle name of your mother, there are a things to avoid. Do not use any of these for your password:

  • Names of children, pets, or relatives
  • Important dates
  • Where you were born
  • Anything related to a sports team

Instead, you should focus on something that is a little more incoherent. Here are something ideas you should take into consideration for making new passwords:

  • The longer the password, the better. Try for 10 to 15 characters.
  • Include a mix of numbers, letters, special characters, and uppercases.
  • Do not use anything type of sequence or pattern (like qwertyasdfgh or 7895123).
  • Do not use any default passwords (like admin or password).
  • Do not use simple character replacements (p@55w0rd or el33th4xor).

With all those rules, it may be really hard to remember your password- of which ways will talked about next time- but one of the easiest for this method is through a mnemonic, a phrases that relates to your password. For example, if your password was “rtrg4Dnn3r!“, you could remember it by the phrase “Reubens Taste Really Good For DiNNER!

A delicious Reuben.

2.) Use an online password generator

Don’t feel like putting the burden of creating a password and a phrase to go with it on your mind when making a new account? Try an online generator, which will make a secure password for you!

Two favorites include Nortons Password Generator, or using Wolfram Alpha to generate one for you.  For Norton, all you have to do is select what you want in your password like the length or inclusion of numbers, and hit generate. For Wolfram Alpha, just type in “Generate Password” for an instant and secure password. You can also click on the specific password rules on the page to change the settings, much like Nortons Password Generator.

3.) The “Random Word” approach (from XKCD)

One of the newer methods of making a password is a bit more creative, and comes from the webcomic, XKCD. Passwords have evolved over time to become harder for us organic, warm blooded, hardly logical beings to remember and easier for the machines to slowly figure out. So, instead of creating a password that relates to your life, or one that is artificially generated, try this method: Use four random words that make no sense at all, all lowercase with no spaces. Memorize those words, and picture what they mean. That’s it. This password will be longer and more complex to a computer program trying to guess it, since it’s actually all one word. Source:


Next time: How to store your new secure passwords, and keep them secure!