It’s difficult to live a normal life these days without being connected to the Internet, the Web or Email.
The point is that any connection you have not only gives you access to an incredible amount of data and information, but it also gives an incredible number of people access to you, your data and a great deal more about you. Regretfully, like most places in life there are some who do not have your best interests at heart. They’re after your money, your data and anything else they can get.
Your need to protect your data and the best way so far is by uses good passwords.
And that’s where the problem starts. Good passwords are not easily remembered, they should not be repeated everywhere you go, and they need changing at least once a year. That quickly turns into a nightmare.
Here’s a simple solution.
It’s called the stem-cell system because it has a unique personal stem, known only to you, and two other ‘cells’ which are stitched together in a way known only to you. As you will see the result it easy to remember passwords that you never have to write down or remember, that are long enough to be highly secure, unique and different wherever you use them and will change annually with little effort.
Too good to be true?
Let’s look at that stem or personal root of your passwords. Ideally this needs to be four to six characters long, have upper- and lower-case letters and contain digit(s). Sound like a tall order?
Here’s how to get one – something you’ll never forget and never have to write down. It’s built from a phrase that has a special meaning to you – but should not be anything personal or to do with you or your family – not your spouse, children, location or anything personal.
Choose a favourite song title, poem, quote from Shakespeare or whatever has special meaning for you. In the example that follows, I have chosen the first line of the Beatle’s number Hey Jude. You should choose something different – a lot of people will read this, and we don’t want everybody using the same stem!
The song’s first line goes: Hey Jude, don’t make it bad… So we take the first letter of each word [as it is, capital or lowercase] and write it down giving: HJ,dmib You can see I’ve slipped in a comma there as there is a natural comma-pause in the lyric – so we use it. There are no numbers yet but it’s still a good stem as you will see.
Next in this example, we decide we’re using the keyword of the place where the password will be used – if it’s email, use email, if it’s you bank use Barclays or Santander or whatever [bank is not a good idea!]. The last cell will be the year – currently 2022. Two other small but important items, we need a punctuation symbol [you choose] and a format or order of how to stitch the cells together. I will choose a simple plus symbol and have the order as a simple stem+destination+year all stitched with a plus sign.
This is gives [for my email]: HJ,dmib+email+2022
For my bank, if I banked at Lloyds, it would be: HJ,dmib+Lloyds+2022
And for Amazon [for next year] I could have: HJ,dmib+Amazon+2023
You get the idea. They are all different, you know which year you started using them, only you know the stem, the symbol and the order but, best of all, each of those examples is assessed by professional cracking software to take at least a trillion years to break. Long enough for most of us!
Check them out at Password Strength Meter (passwordmonster.com)
And there you have it. You can now see how you have a system for unique passwords wherever you need them that you will never have to write down nor will you ever forget. What’s not too like?
- Think up a good [short] stem – something that you’ll have no trouble remembering.
- Choose a punctuation mark or common keyboard symbol.
- Decide what order you will stitch them together – maybe you choose to put the year first?
And that’s all there is to it folks. Good luck – and happy passwords!
Downloadable PDF: The Stem PWD System