December 1999

The Password of Choice

It is odd that such an important factor of network computer operations is ignored so frequently. The fact of the matter is that most security measures are easily incorporated and as easily ignored. And the price of being lazy can be very costly. This article will deal with our old friend: the password.

Basics: The Password

Now, for whatever reason, most people hate passwords. Most will choose simple, possibly obvious ones that may even be written on a yellow stickie on their monitor.

That is a bad idea, by the way!

The password, if I may sound like your mother for a moment, is there for a reason. It is to protect your information from EVERYONE ELSE. That may sound paranoid; it is. But you are responsible for your work. A password prevents others from manipulating your data, information you may have spent hours, days, months, etc., developing and some idiot with your password can erase all your stuff in ten seconds. So when you choose your password, choose wisely.

Password of Choice: Be Unique Like Everyone Else

Don't be obvious. Secret; bad password. Love; bad password. Password; bad password. God, sex, your name, anything that might be obvious. If your cubicle is plastered with shots of you catching a wave in Maui, don't use surfboard as a password. Your child's name, your dog's name, your girlfriend's name, these are all choices to be avoided.

So what's a good password, you ask?


Of course, most people would need a matching tattoo to remember that. But there is a middle ground between that and "Gateway2000".

Try a phrase. Substitute numbers wherever possible.

For instance: wasitg00d4u2

Try to be as obscure as possible when selecting a phrase. Use something you can remember. Do not use it, though, if it is your personal catch phrase. If you say "Get a grip" as often as a parrot with Torrett's syndrome, don't adopt it as a password.

Keys to the Kingdom

With some common sense and creativity, you can come up with a unique and easy to remember password. It is there to keep everyone else out, even if it seems to be a hassle. Don't give away your password. You never know who will wind up with it at the end of the day.And if you insist on keeping "CDROM" as your last line of defence, don't come cryin' to me when you can't get rid of a screen saver of a three hundred and fifty pound naked hermaphridite.