The Password Is…

Mary Jane Heider is the Director of Academic Computing at Genesee Community College. She inspired this blog post and gave me permission to write it. The point of this post is to give you some good tips on making passwords that meet the qualifications they need to while still being easy to remember.

Student passwords for the University at Buffalo have to have the following qualifications

  • At least 8 characters in length
  • At least one letter must be capitalized
  • At least one character must be a number
  • At least one character must be a “special symbol”
  • No three continuous characters can match three continuious characters in the username

And, to be honest, I think I’m missing a few! So, how do we make a password that fits all of these qualifications?

First, pick a relatively long word. For the sake of argument, since there is a picture next to me that says persistence on it – let’s use that.

  • the word persistence is at least 8 characters so try to find a word that has at least 7 or 8 characters in it
  • capitalize either the first or last letter that way it is easy to remember where the capitalized letter goes
  • replace letters that look like they could be numbers with numbers e’s become 3s, the letter o becomes a zero, s becomes 5, you get the idea
  • special symbols are usually @, #, %, & things like that – put this as your last character
  • the last bullet is simple they don’t want your password too similar to your username but usually if you use this pick a long word technique that’s not an issue

The book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is about a girl that runs away from home and goes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Read this book and find out what hidden “passwords” she has to uncover in the museum. Don’t worry, this isn’t a techy book I promise!

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