Beringer Associates Technology Blog

Sticky Notes are Not Secure

Posted by on in Information Technology

Windows Sticky NoteWe all have too many passwords and it’s hard enough to keep track of them…but to have to invent new, “good” ones every time they expire is a frustrating exercise. Befuddled by the complexity requirements set by your employer on your network login, or concerned that your password is too easy to guess? Not to worry! Here’s a quick and easy way to create strong passwords that will be hard for others to guess, but easy to remember.

The key elements of a strong (ie complex) password are to have a string of characters that is not a simple word (like dog or cat) or your name (Bob or Sue). Also, avoid your birthday, anniversary, children’s or pets names or any other word or number set that is easy to identify with you.

The strongest passwords (and hardest to crack) combine letters (upper and lower case), numbers and the other symbols into a memorable phrase. The goal is to create a secure password that is easy to remember, so it won’t end up on a sticky note on your display or under your keyboard.

One way to immediately strengthen your password without making it impossible to remember, is to add various non-letter characters:

Weak: bobsmith

Add caps and symbols: !BobSmith#

Add numbers and an underscore: !Bob_Smith#1

Much harder to guess –still not so hard to remember – and harder for hacking tools to crack.

Another option is to pick a word or phrase and replace a few letters with other characters:

ILikeCats IL1k3C@t5

GhostHunters Gh0stH%ntr3

Again, pretty easy to remember after you type it a few times, but hard to guess, and strong protection against password cracking tools.  So, update your passwords and throw out those sticky notes!