Password creation hint #5
Published: 8-27-2012 9:15 pm
We in NATS hope that your first week of the term was productive and smooth.
We certainly shared having a busy week with all of you, not least of which was
handling a number of password changes. This series of notes regarding passwords,
while fun (for us at least) and humorous (for you hopefully), had at it's heart
a serious intent. Strong, easy to remember passwords that are not forgotten
and not written down on sticky notes and placed under keyboards or on monitors
are crucial for maintaining the integrity of the system, protecting your
personal data and our shared data as an institution. If we can invest a few
minutes to get people thinking about good security, not only do we make WSC's
systems more secure, but we save time at the help desk that can be utilized to
more directly provide a better teaching, learning and living environment. We
hope this series of hints has provided you with some tools to create strong
passwords and at the same time, make them easier to remember.
With that in mind, password hint #5: Addresses
I really wanted to do something in this series with the translation of
spacial maps to passwords. We have maps all around us and they have a vast
amount of data in them. All of the password creation techniques we've discussed
this week are based on the premise of taking data and rearranging it in some way
that is memorable to you but no one else. Map data is no different, but finding
a good way to translate it down into a password is a bit challenging because
maps use primarily numbers to designate locations (I.E. longitude and
latitude). The easily relatable exception I thought of was a Bingo card - where
a combination of letters and numbers are used to denote locations on a piece of
paper. Since most people I know don't keep a bingo card in their wallet or on
their desk, I kept searching, and then it hit me. Street addresses! Street
addresses have capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation - all
the ingredients for a great password. Obviously you don't want to simply use
your street address natively, but if you, in essence, make an acrostic from your
street address (or even better, a former street address that you remember well),
you get a great password.
Take, for example, WSC's street address:
1111 Main St.
Wayne, NE 68787
Take the first character of each token (plus all punctuation) in the
address: 1MS.W,N6 and you've got a super password.
For a different approach, use the second character of each token and take
all of the abbreviations in whole: 1aStaNE8 and Bingo, another great password.