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Choosing Strong Passwords and Remembering Them Easily

There are times I get e-mails that make me scratch my head as I simply don’t understand. I got one the other day and I’ll include the entire message below.

Your passwords are ridiculous, no way I can understand them.

That’s it, just one sentence. So that you understand the context, it came someone who subscribes to the blog and was in reply to a post about free fonts. I asked the person for clarification and didn’t receive a reply after a few days.

Now here’s why I am baffled. I can only guess the person couldn’t remember their password for Graphics Unleashed Media Marketplace and was blaming us for assigning a “ridiculous” password. Only one problem with that, users create their own passwords when they create an account. So if the password on the user’s account was indeed “ridiculous,” it was created that way by the user.

Now I will provide a slight caveat. Should you forget the password you selected, you can ask to have it reset and a new password will be automatically created that is a “strong” password made up of random characters. As soon as you log in with this new password, you can change it to whatever you prefer. This is very similar to pretty much any other site where log-ins are used.

Many users simply choose a password they can remember with the top one chosen in 2012 being “password”. That’s right, people simply use the word password as their password. I also wouldn’t be surprised if  those same users who also the ones who most likely had their accounts compromised.

A good idea for a password is to have a minimum of eight characters that mixes letters, numbers and at least one punctuation mark. And if you can avoid words from the dictionary, even better as many hackers have ways to test words from the dictionary to crack accounts.

The reason given by most users for not using better passwords is they can’t remember them. It really isn’t difficult at all to remember them with a great utility like Roboform. The first time you log-in to a Web site, it asks if you want to remember the credentials used. A master password of your choosing unlocks all of the log-in credentials you have created.

I’m guessing I have at least 200 unique credentials saved for the sites I’ve visited in the past seven years or so I’ve been using Roboform. But what happens if you need to visit those sites on your phone or your tablet? There are apps for iOS and Android devices and all of your log-ins can be synced so they are all kept up-to-date automatically.

Not only can Roboform remember passwords for browsers, it can also remember them for software on your computer. It truly is an invaluable utility that I believe everyone should have. The peace of mind having strong passwords for everything is worth every penny you’ll spend. And if you really want it for free, it can be used for up to ten log-ins without payment. You’ll just miss out on all the other great features.

About Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is the author of thirteen books on CorelDRAW, the latest being CorelDRAW X6 Unleashed. He has been a contributor to numerous magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site and many more, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics and Web conferences.

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  1. Rather than requiring passwords that contain numbers, upper- and lowercase characters, and punctuation marks, it would be better to have pass *phrases.* See http://xkcd.com/936/

    Unfortunately most places don’t allow the use of proper pass phrases as “passwords”; even without a “must contain strange characters” requirement, the maximum length allowed is generally too short.

  2. Kirk e-mailed the following comment:

    And, for $20/year, you can run Roboform Everywhere with its cloud storage which makes running multiple PCs at different sites with the same password set nearly trivial (for me at least). I may get an Android phone in the near future and I look forward to Roboform on it.

    Your email/blog is the first I have ever received that even mentioned Roboform. There are several other password managers, and some of them may be cheaper for a one PC hobbyist, but I find it hard to believe any of them are significantly better than Roboform. I think it’s the best deal going and I don’t even work for Roboform!

  3. PassWordsPlus by DataViz has been my preference for many years. Can’t beat cost of $9.99 to create/store passwords and all your personal/business and website info. Auto Syncs with cloud, computer and smartphone. Access your secure info conveniently. Remember only ONE password.

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