Couple weeks ago, I decided to change my passwords.
I’m one of those people who used to have 2 or 3 passwords that I used for everything, but this has been the summer of the hacker, so I started to worry.
If a hacker got hold of just 1 password, he’d have the keys to the kingdom, so I decided to mix things up. I decided to use a different password for every site I visit.
You aren’t supposed to use words from the dictionary, because those are easy to guess, so I took Leo Laporte‘s advice and used the “Roy G Biv” approach.
“Roy G Biv” is a trick for remembering the colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The Tech Guy suggests coming up with something similar, something that’s easy to remember but tough to guess, like “nfCrb1Cb2O” — the last 8 U.S. presidents, with the Democrats capitalized (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama).
Song lyrics are good, too — “0scysbtd3l” is the first letter of every word in the first line of “The Star Spangled Banner,” but with the numeral “0″ replacing the letter “O” and a “3″ serving as a backward “E.” (It’s good to combine upper and lower case letters and numerals.)
You’d have to type a lot of completely random passwords to guess either of those passwords.
Problem is, I have so many passwords for so many sites that I can’t remember which mnemonic device I used for which site.
So, now, it takes 2 or 3 tries to log into Gmail or check Facebook or buy something from Amazon.
I gave up trying to get into Skype, so I created a whole new account, but I forgot that login and password, too.
I think I may have outsmarted myself, but at least I feel a little bit safer.