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Password pain
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler color mug

This week, I am updating my password list. It’s time!

How are you doing with passwords? Do you have different passwords for a multitude of sites that you visit on the internet? I have a truckload of passwords, and I am as confused as you are!

Passwords should be complicated; relating somehow to our personal experiences, and to something we might remember the next time. But remembering them is the problem.

To help the old head thinker, I typed up my list of passwords for all the different places I go on the internet. Then, I print hard copies of those lists. It is a long, long list. My kids make fun of me because I have a visible list of my passwords. But, don’t worry. No one would be able to find the list because most of the time, I cannot find it either!

I realized that the list would be constantly changing since many sites require the periodic change of passwords. On to my paper list where I crossed out the old passwords and wrote in the new ones. 

Soon, my list of names and passwords was full of scratches, scribbles, and cross-outs, notes up the side, and penciled in corrections. I couldn’t even read my own personal password list! Therefore, I made a new list. The old one was tattered at this point. (But I kept the old one just in case I lost the new one)

Somehow, I need to reform my password habits. I will begin by choosing passwords that I can trust. How?

First of all, create a couple of real doozies. Once you do, you can make “little” complex changes when a password must be updated. When banks, credit cards, and  shopping sites require a change, move around a letter or two, and switch the two versions back and forth from time to time.

Using common numbers like 1,2,3, 4 or sports figures, birthday dates, and your own name are not smart. The second most common password is “PASSWORD” but many think they are beating the system by changing the letter O to the number zero. The hackers have that figured out, folks.  Sorry. So, create a good one, a complex password that you can use and change just a bit when it is necessary.

A few of the top 25 (hackers) worst passwords are:. 123456, password, 12345678, whatever, qwerty, letmein, iloveyou, football, monkey, abc123, starwars, hello, and trustno1. Alas! Not good enough.  

Inject as many symbols and numbers and variety of characters that make your password fairly unique for an unknown entity to guess, but fairly easy to remember. An example: “Tree*&$branch#243”. There are symbols, numbers, words, and absolutely no continuity in this password. This is good. You could change it easily by varying the numbers or the words the next time.

Don’t create a password that is too short. It needs to be preferably greater than 15. 

We obviously can’t remember all of those combinations, but we don’t want to ever have our identity stolen. The most sophisticated computer geek keeps his passwords either in his brilliant mind (sigh) or records them in his computer somewhere.

Me? I prefer my sheets of typing paper with all the cross-outs, re-types, and multiple entries. When the page develops smudges, coffee stains, and corrections made in ink that I cannot’s then that I make a new list.  But I still keep the old ragged thing anyway. 

At least I can remember the passwords if I remember to write them down! Get to work updating your passwords and I will also.   

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at juditabler@gmail.comor juditabler@awomansview.