The latest and greatest way to solve this problem will change over time, but the ways to be stupid about passwords are ageless, I bet.
Today, I received a very threatening email:
Subject: password momispizza
Lets get right to the purpose. You do not know me and you’re probably wondering why you are getting this email? No one has paid me to check you.
I’m glad no one paid for this mess. It’s atrocious. The sender, Waaaaiak, claims that it has key-logged me via a porn page and has videotaped me and collected all my contacts. In exchange for its pledge to not embarrass me, it will accept a bit coin donation of $946.
In case you are thinking of going to the law, very well, this mail can not be traced back to me. I have dealt with my actions. I am just not trying to ask you for much, I just want to be rewarded.
It’s pretty whiny for extortion; I’m only asking for a prize for pretending to spy on you!!
The trouble is, I am one of the few internet persons who has never porned, not even for research. The closest I’ve gotten to that was being blocked shopping for underwear. Too bad, Waaaaiak, you found a dud target for your plea. I have dealt with your actions, in brand new granny panties.
I have used a few throw-away passwords, so that everyone in the family can send pizza to my house or watch what I like on Netflix. What creatures like Waaaaaiak count on is the laziness that I will use the same dumb passwords for pizza, porn and banking.
Don’t make it easy for these jerks.
Writing passwords down isn’t recommended, not just because someone else will find them, but because you can lose them. Besides, people are not that creative about where they hide things. When you kids were little you all kept your secret diaries under your pillows. It was so cute and so predictable. I wouldn’t peek, but someone like Waaaaaiak would certainly take two seconds to discover your secret crushes and demand cupcakes.
Try to think of passwords that are tucked away in odd corners of your thinking. Famous song lyrics are a terrible choice, but if you have a favorite misquote of a famous song, you have a good start.
…the cross-eyed bear that you gave to me…
A short version of the above could be XI’Dbear!HUGS! That’s a decent password.
4score&7yearsAgo is not going to slow down Americans who can name one famous speech in history. So it’s not the worst, but it’s easily crackable by a few people.
The more personal the line of nonsense, the harder it is for anyone else to guess. If you don’t currently have a friend who is prone to malapropisms, find one. They are the greatest source of password poetry and also a lot of fun.
When you arrive at a perfect password, use that and another form of verification to sign in to store all the others safely. Back when I had authorization to wire gobs of money around, we used a separate device to authenticate identity. It’s clearly a good idea.
Some browsers offer to generate and store passwords for you, and that’s fine, if you trust huge corporate types with your secrets. You do, don’t you? Hmmm? They think you do, so it’s probably fine!!
Whatever method you choose, remember to be on guard when you use passwords. I know exactly how Waaaaaiak got my old, disposable password. It was not some super spy method with sophisticated infiltration and key logging–it relied entirely on my laziness and inattention. Sloppiness is gold to these clowns.
It was years ago, and I was shopping for kettle bells. Clicking around too fast, I ended up on a spoof site that was probably something like kettleballs.com. It required a login and in a fit of impatience, I used my pizza password. Worse, my pizza password was also my amazon password at the time. The jerks who sold my password to Waaaaaiak ordered fifty video games before amazon and I caught on.
Even with good detection, these breeches cause plenty of headaches. I changed every password I had anywhere as a result of the kettleballs pizza problem and it still haunts me. Don’t be like me. Also don’t drunk shop, or drunk surf. Remember, the jerks are always surfing for you.
Further reading: https://www.popsci.com/how-to-choose-safe-passwords
Further, further reading:
Undertakers, Harlots and Other Odd Bodies is out now. A free preview is available and all electronic formats are priced at a very reasonable US$3.99!!
If you search for it on google books you end up with Oliver Twist, which is fine. Just order that!