#25: &!#@% Passwords

The clock is ticking. That big deadline is rapidly approaching.  For the one last piece you need to wrap it all up you’ve got to log-in to “the system”… and the crazy thing keeps asking you for a password.  What do you do?

A. Type in your pet hamster’s name and hope that it’s the same password you use for everything else?
B. Type in every word-number combination you have ever used hoping you’ll eventually stumble onto the right one.
C. Call the help desk and have them reset it — AGAIN!
D. Confidently enter #jfm64PAS# turn in the project and head home to enjoy the rest of the day.

If you chose answer D, congratulations you are free to go. You obviously have a PhD in Password Management and have all your passwords completely under control. (You get bonus points if you recently changed this password from it’s predecessor !wr&98zflg)  For everyone else, keep reading.

Creating Secure & Memorable passwords

Does it seem like you’re in a continuous battle with system administrators and all of their password rules? How do they come up with those anyway? Here’s a simple way to create passwords that will meet all those rules AND be easy to remember.

Remember 100 different passwords with 1 rule set

Choose a base password and then apply a rule that mashes in some form of the system/service name it is used for.

Option 1: Use your base password with the first two consonants and the first two vowels of the service name. Say your base password is “asdf.” (See how easy that is to type?). Then your password for Yahoo would be ASDFYHAO, and your password for eBay would be ASDFBYEA.

Option 2: Something simpler – but along the same lines – might involve the same letters to start (say, your initials and a favorite number) plus the first 3 letters of a service name. In that case, my password for Amazon would be TMT82AMA and for NOVA; TMT82NOV.

To make a password even more secure – or applicable for services that require special characters – add them around it, like #GMLT10LIF#.

Before you decide on your single password rule, keep these guidelines in mind for your AEP passwords.

»  Make it at least 8 characters long.
»  It can´t be the same as your userid.
»  It should always start with a letter.
»  It will need to include at least 1 upper case and 1 lower case letter and 1 number.
»  The only two special characters accepted by all AEP systems are the $ and # symbols.

Create a Single AEP Password

Check out this AEPnow article on how to get all your AEP passwords set to the same thing. Is anyone already doing this? Is it really possible?

Simplify your life by making your password more complex [AEP only – sorry!]

Keeping Track of Your Passwords

So what do you do to keep track of your passwords? Sticky notes on your monitor? (I’ve seen lots of you guys!) Word document? Excel spreadsheet? Tattoos on the back of you hand? I use KeePass password safe.

Ten Free Ways to Track All Your Passwords

How do you manage your passwords? Got a different system that works well for you? Share it with the rest of us in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “#25: &!#@% Passwords

  1. Jim Watson says:


    I have been using the same password for all my company-related sites for years. I just keep a Post-It note with all the sites listed that need to change (I have 13.). I also put them in as entries KeePass. I can set up one main KeePass entry (It’s “SWEPCO Logon”.), with the AEP password I use, and just use the following for all the rest of the entries that use the same password ({REF:P@T:SWEPCO Logon}). That way, after I’ve changed my AEP password, I can update all my other AEP entries in KeePass by updating the “SWEPCO Login” entry. If you already knew about this feature, I apologize for boring you!



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