I met up with a friend from college last weekend. We hadn’t seen in other in quite a while, so we had a lot of catching up to do. I listened with interest as he told me that he owns a franchise of one of those ice cream parlors where you choose the fixin’s and they mix your ice cream in front of your eyes on the freezing countertop. (Does anyone remember the NY ice cream chain Zippy’s with the little baseball and football helmets?!)
I told him about Sticky Password and what I’ve been doing in online security over the past 10 years. He wasn’t familiar with password management programs, but he did have experience with passwords. He proudly told me that he had a great system for creating passwords for email and online accounts: you guessed it – he used his favorite ice cream flavors as his passwords!
I smiled and asked if anyone knew what those favorite flavors were. He admitted that he was only too happy to share his favorites with his customers when they asked for recommendations. I suggested that he download Sticky Password and try the 30-day trial version and that he should contact me any time with questions or comments.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that all or any of his customers are going to be interested in trying to access or violate his online identity. The point is that most people are in the habit of being cute with their passwords. Whether using the names of their children or pets, or, in this case, an ice cream man using his favorite flavors, these are things that someone who knows you even very little might try if he wanted to sneak into your accounts. Using words like ‘password’ or ‘qwerty’ is even worse, because you are opening yourself up to strangers who start their hacking attempts with these standards.
If you are going to be cute, then I suggest being cute with your login or username. That way, at least, you’ll be able to show off your great login to the world – rather than hiding your idea in a password. Passwords need to be something that can’t be easily guessed. While strong passwords may be hard to remember, they are even harder to be guessed by others! By using a password manager you’ll have strong passwords and the tool to manage them for you (so you don’t have to remember them all).
I’ll let you know how it turns out with my ice cream man friend in 30 days!