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Passwords without Post-its

This user-submitted tip suggests the use of a formulaic non-alpha character subsitution system to increase password security.

This tip was submitted to the Tip Exchange by member Rodney Pieper. Let other users know how...

useful it is by rating the tip below.

1. Take a short sentence. It needs to be at least eight words long. For example: "On top of a pizza all covered with cheese."

2. Take the first letter of each word -- i.e. "otoapacwc."

3. Convert a letter to a non-alpha character. Use some changing standard.

For example, this convert the letter a to @. Next month use a different sentence and convert the letter o to 0 (zero).

Common substitutions are:

 i - 1 s - $ c - ( a - @ o - 0 e - 3 h - #

Normally you should convert two letters to non-alpha characters.

Password is: oto@p@cwc or 0t0apacwc or otoapa(w(.

Password phrases that bear some meaning to the user are easier to remember than a single password, and using the substitution will make for a reasonably strong password.

This was last published in March 2003

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