September 12, 2014

Think about your computer usage and consider these 4 questions:

1) How many times each day do you use a log in name and password?

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My guess it that it is more than 5, right?

2) How often each week do you have to click “forgotten password”?

Like any other busy mum with all kinds of dates, times and other information bouncing around your brain it is probably pretty often, isn’t it?

3) Do you risk it and use the same password for EVERYTHING?

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4) Have you ever wished there was easy and secure way to file your passwords so you could remember them?

The Filing Fairies are Professional Organisers specialising in photo organisation, paper and computer filing.  Recently during some of our Family Filing projects we have had clients ask us how they should file their passwords.  I wanted to share the answer we give our clients with you all to save you some time and headaches.

There is a TONNE of password apps out there that can be synced and encrypted and so on and so forth but The Filing Fairies practise K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) so the method I want to share with you is old school mathematics. No not post it notes, grid paper or diaries – the secret to remembering your passwords is to use a FORMULA!

Hands up who knows E = Mc2?

What about π r²?

I have not had to calculate the circumference of a circle since I left primary school nearly 30 years ago, but it is entrenched in my memory never to be forgotten. Well the same goes for my password…I have ONE, yes just ONE formula to remember (oops not technically correct,  I actually have 2 because I use one for personal use and one for business) but that is a hell of a lot less than I used to remember.

How does it work?

Easy! Just come up with a combination of words, symbols and numbers that mean something to you. Here it is written like a formula:

meaningful number + meaningful word + meaningful number 2 = your password

Don’t forget password 101 rule of not using easy things like pets or kids names still applies.

So now I bet you are asking; “how do I come up with words and numbers to use in my password formula”?

Here are a few ideas for combinations:

  • The numbers in your car rego plates + your first teachers name + the street name and number of your childhood home
  • The street number of your childhood home + your childhood imaginary friends name + your favourite ice cream flavour
  • The age you were when you met your partner + your favourite cocktail + the last 3 digits of your mums phone number

Getting the idea?

Did you notice in my formula I always had numbers first? That is because more frequently now days you also need to include a symbol so I interchange the first digit of the number with the symbol corresponding to that number e.g. so if my password was 159huttonida8 it would now translate to !59huttonida8 in which case the formula should read:

meaningful number (first digit as symbol) + meaningful word + meaningful number 2 = your password

Need capital? – no drama there, just add it to the beginning of the meaningful word

Now that all might seem confusing or complex right now – I sure can remember being befuddled by that circumference formula back at school! But believe me, once you have used your personalised forumla a few times you will have no trouble remembering your password.

Of course I’m not saying that you should use these actual patterns, you need to come up with a formula for yourself that is easy for YOU to remember so that you can reach password nirvana and produce a password that is not only memorable but also secure.

For more organising tips and tricks head you can subscribe to Fairytales – The Blog via our website.

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  • Thanks for this – I’ll try to remember – better yet, I’ll tell my science mad husband.

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  • Thanks i use to have so many passwords now l just use one or two!

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  • Oh how simple to use the street address of my first home…..one that only my brother would know and he lives in another country so im safe…lol

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  • A great step by step guide to creating a secure but easy to remember password. Thanks for sharing.

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  • I am really bad with actually coming up with passwords! I will be sure to try this out!

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  • Cool! Good knowledge to know! Thanks for sharing this!

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  • I have a range of passwords that mean something to me. My banking ones are the most complicated, the everyday online sites easier ones. but they are not ones that are easily guessed.

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  • What a great idea I am always worried about passwords and you need them for everything these days!

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  • I am pretty bad with this password thing and tend to use the same or variations of the same password for everything

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  • Being in IT, I not only have personal passwords to create and remember, but also work related ones! Company policies enforce the regular changing of passwords too which makes it even harder to think of strong ones. But, when all is said and done, for security and peace of mind, it’s something worth doing well!

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  • This sounds like a much better solution than having the same word all the time.

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  • Where was this article when I was setting up all of my passwords???? easy + memorable = good password

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  • There are too many accounts needed password.

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  • Great tips, I am over remembering passwords and have a diary with them all listed, my greatest fear is dying and no one being able to cancel all my accounts, LOL

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  • I am hopeless at remembering anything …passwords are no different. I’ll give this a go

    Reply

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