In the old black and white movies I used to watch when home from school, soldiers approaching their camp in the dark were sometimes asked, “Halt! What’s the password?” A verbal phrase or special word was exchanged to verify the unknown soldier’s affiliation. In war time, it’s hard to know who to trust merely based on appearances. There’s a great scene in the old Jerry Lewis movie, “Which Way to The Front?” (Warner Brothers Pictures, 1970), where this theme is tweaked humorously. (You can find the clip on YouTube.)
It’s the same with online and computer accounts. There’s no way to know who is trying to access the account unless some form of validation is used. And passwords are the favorite method. Even answering the security questions to recover your account can get tricky. Did you capitalize the name of your first pet? Did you say your favorite author was Jane Austen or William Shakespeare? Remember in the film Monty Python and The Holy Grail, just forgetting his favorite color (“Blue, no yellow!”) got one knight sent flying into the abyss.
You know the basics, I’m sure. A good password is something you can remember but another person couldn’t guess. It’s longer than 8 characters. It’s not a dictionary word. But do you know the most important password in your life? Or how to create and remember passwords that are unique, complex and usable? I have a presentation with the answers to ALL these questions. Please view it, download and reuse it, if you like. I’ve included speaker notes on the slides for those who download them.