Security and Passwords

Two steps to sustaining a secure digital workspace:

Passwords should be complex, illogical and unique to each situation yet easy to remember. There are many tools and approaches to help you create and record passwords. Whatever approach one takes, it is important to generate at least an 8-character password that includes at least one

  • special character (!@#$%^&*()_+)
  • lower-case letter
  • upper-case letter
  • numeral

The following is a very brief, but workable, summary of a plethora of literature and advice.

1. Create an ‘algorithm’ that you can easily recall, but one which includes space for a set of characters that are unique to each situation. e.g.

sewanee fog, stirlings cappuccino, all saints chapel is easy to remember

and can be reduced to the first initial string sfscasc

which can be made more secure by converting every other ‘s’ to ‘5’, the ‘f’ to an exclamation mark, ‘!’, and the final letter to upper-case to give us 5!sca5C

This already looks too complicated to remember, but as you enter this string time after time, your fingers will rattle it out quickly and easily.

2. Take the result of the algorithm, and add it to a rule that is applied to each situation, and renders a unique string of characters. e.g.

you could take a number of characters  relating to any situation (a URL would ignore ‘http://www’), add an underscore ‘_’ at the beginning and insert it after the third character (‘s’) into the algorithm. e.g. Having decided that the 3rd, 4th and 5th characters will be used, then for logging in to the web site: http://art2.sewanee.edu/art/yourstudentname you would pick ‘t2.’, add to underscore and generate _t2._ , insert it into the above string and render

5!s_t2._ca5C

With this approach, you will be able to recall the core characters easily, and always have a ‘hint’ staring at you from the screen.