Of passwords and ATM PINs

passwordWith more of our lives getting digital every day, one of the biggest challenges facing us is keeping track of all the passwords(email, bank account, Facebook, …) and TPINs (Telephone Personal Identification Number) and IPINs (Internet PIN) and ATM PINs that have become an intrinsic part of our lives. Writing down these passwords and PINs in a central place is a big “NO-NO” and jotting your PIN on the back of your ATM card is as good as throwing your money away!

If this is a tough challenge even for youngsters, it is problem of a much higher magnitude for senior citizens with fading memories.  However, there are some simple tricks that you can use to make up strong passwords that are easy to remember for you but tough for others to crack.  Here is one simple trick:

There are many things in our lives that are etched deeply into our long-term memory which will never fade away. Our first telephone number, the address of the house we were born in, our college ID, lines from our favorite songs, name of our first girl friend/boy friend, our first love, phrases that affected us, proverbs that hold special meaning for us, titles of books that changed the way we look at life, names of people who helped us along, birthdays of our first born, or the first grandchild, our star sign – the list of things we can never forget is a mile long.  Most of these words, phrases and numbers are very difficult to guess for others, especially if some of them are in your native language (other than English).  Choose a few of these wisely and use them for your various password needs.

Just remember to avoid some of the easily guess-able ones such as your own name, your mother’s maiden name (which you have probably been asked in many places), your birthday, or the last line of your National Anthem. Especially that last bit, as if you ever have to divulge your password to your wife, she may what to know who that “Jaya” is!!!

One piece of advice:  There may come a time when you may have to reveal your password to someone in the family, so do not keep anything nasty, embarrassing or too revealing as your password.

Don’t let passwords and PINs scare you away from using ATM cards and computers.

If you can think of other simple ways of producing strong passwords, do share those ideas through the comments section.  .

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