Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to Protect your Passwords

How to Protect your Passwords
A Useful Tip
Dr. Mouhamed N. Tarazi

Monday my wife called me. She interrupted my work and with a frustrated tone she informed me, “I cannot access our bank account online. Did you change the password?"

"Nope! I didn't," I calmly responded.

"I keep getting a message, 'We're sorry, but you used a User ID and/or password that doesn't match our records. Please try again.’ Or, click ‘Forgot your User ID and Password ‘to restore your access. ‘This is very frustrating. I don’t want to change the password."

I told her to hold on for a moment while I accessed my passwords’ file in my Dropbox. In fact I have a file called "Passwords" on my Dropbox. This may sound crazy. How can anyone with sound mind leave his valuable passwords on his computer, knowing that hackers are everywhere? Not only that, I’m also making their hacking job too easy by providing them with a file called “Passwords”.

“All right, what password are you using?” I inquired.

She Replied, “Asusual at 15, capital ‘a’, then, all small letters s,u,---“

As soon as she begun spelling the password, I started chuckling. She heard me and stopped. Then, embarrassingly exclaimed “Okay, okay. I remember!  I know now what I was doing wrong. Sorry! Forget it! I’m good! I got it. I know what to do now. Assalamu Alaykum” 

I have close to forty passwords on my computer and I’m not afraid to share the file with hackers. They won’t be able to do anything with it. Unless they can hack my own brain.

Here is simply how you can do it and protect your passwords. Chose one or two passwords that you like, don’t write them anywhere and just share them with your wife (recommended) if they are not a business related password. Assign a code word for each, like ‘asusual’ and ‘letmein’. Then make all your other passwords variations that include one of these two passwords, but use the code word in place of the password in your record of passwords.

Chose, for example, “Shoraba1” as password. It has a capital letter and a number as commonly required today.  Now only you and your wife know it. On your computer, in the file called “passwords,” you write the passwords of different websites, using “Asusual” instead of your true password, “Shoraba1” So if I access your passwords’ file I might see:

Checking Account:

User ID: johnsmith

Password: Asusual@123 (this means to you Shoraba1@123)


User ID:

Password: MyAsusual$7 (this means to you MyShoraba1$7)

Medical Records:

User ID: jsmith

Password: 12@Letmein (this means 12@ (whatever your second favorite secret password)

Of course all the added letters, as explained, are part of the required passwords. You only need to replace “Asusual” or “Letmein” with the memorized (not written anywhere) passwords.

You see, you can have more than one true password.

This technique can also be used for all sorts of codes (Security system at home, combination used to open your safe, etc...)

But please don’t use your own or any of your children birth dates. Don’t use the obvious common passwords like ‘Password’, 123456, 111122,112358 (Fibonacci), 4321 or your children’s names separate or conjointly or your telephone number or your social.

If you have a trick to make or remember passwords that might help me or others, I’d really like to hear it and share it around too.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

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