3 Password Rules to Tick Off Hackers

The idea for this blog comes from our own Christopher Martone, web designer, developer, and resident hacker-annoyer. What Internet passwords do you use? Do you use the word, “Password?” Or what about your favorite sports team? Maybe you like “123456.” Or how about your favorite color? Chances are I guessed some of your passwords—or came close.

Many sources report these as the most common passwords for 2010:

  • 123456 or 654321
  • ilovecats
  • gogiants (Or “gobills” if you’re in Buffalo!)
  • abc123
  • iloveyou
  • First names (Jessica, Ashley, Michael, and Daniel are most common)

As we know, passwords are for our protection. They verify our identity to gain access to our private accounts and privileged information. Good passwords, better said, secure passwords, decrease the probability of someone breaking our secret code and hacking into our accounts. Coming up with secure passwords is relatively simple. Numbers, symbols, and a mix of upper and lowercase letters combined create strong passwords. The hard part is remembering them! That’s where Password Rules can help.


A Simple System to Create and Remember (Mostly) Secure Passwords developed by Quad-B’s web developer, Christopher Martone

Think of a basic password. For the most secure approach, many sources advise against using words found in the dictionary. But for our purposes, we will use the favorite color as mentioned as a common password above and take it from a weak password to a strong one. The color is orange.

Set three standard rules to apply to any password you create. For instance:

Rule 1: Capitalize all the vowels of the word: “OrAngE.”

Rule 2: Use the first two letters of the domain name as a prefix followed by a period. (Sound complicated? It’s not.) Using Facebook as an example: “fa.OrAngE.”

Rule 3: Add a number rule. Count the number of letters in the domain name; put the total at the end of the password. Facebook has 8 letters. Our final password is: “fa.OrAngE8”.

“Orange”—a password that any amateur hacker could crack—is now much more secure. This method makes it easy to come up with different, secure passwords for every site you visit, using the base password you like, and three rules you make up. Password Rules make passwords easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. I recommend that you combine upper and lower cases letters, and numbers in your rules.

While anyone who knows your password rules could easily find out all your passwords, most hackers would never go this far to assume that you did anything more than choose a bunch of random characters.

My files are GONE!


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