Pa$$w0rd$ – Make Them Matter

Make Your Passwords Count!

Passwords are a necessary evil. In most instances, they are the only bits of data that protect our personal information, accounts and online identities. As our online activities grow, both personally and professionally, it’s easy to feel like we’re drowning in passwords.

Single sign-on solutions and password management tools help to keep the number of passwords we have to remember to a minimum but as a result, we tend to enter those few passwords quite often.

The passwords we type most frequently tend to be the ones that are most important, such as a school or work single sign-on account, a personal email account, and a password manager account (see previous post). Since you’re going to be typing these passwords over and over, why not make them a good reminder of your values?

Sp!ritu@L Inspir8ti0n

Our lives are full of frenetic activity and redundant, mundane tasks. Sometimes it’s helpful to plant little reminders that point us to the things that really matter. I find that passwords made up of snippets of scripture, prayers, or hymn lyrics can be enough to refocus me on the eternal in the midst of the mundane.

Of course, the point of a password is to provide security, it needs to be a strong password to be effective. For a password to be effective, it should be sufficiently long. Older standards recommend at least eight characters but more and more suggest twelve or more characters. It’s best to have a password with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you find Genesis 1:1 particularly meaningful:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

That’s too long for a password so try shortening it up, like:

God created Heaven and Earth

The spaces count as special characters and this password has uppercase and lowercase letters. Technically, this is considered a fairly strong password, but it would be more practical if it was a little shorter, and it would be better to obfuscate the words a bit and throw in a number or two:

God cre8d H24 & @

Substitute the 8 for the “ate” in “create” (phonetically similar). Substitute the first two even numbers (2 and 4) for “eaven” in “Heaven.” To me, the @ looks a little like the earth… and voilà! You have a secure password that reminds you daily who really has dominion over all things.

Once you come up with a password, test it on one of the many password strength test tools like LastPass.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 to be disciplined to let our minds dwell on what is true, just, and pleasing to God. I believe a password can, in a small way, transform the mundane into a regular reminder of the presence of God.

Are you thinking of a career in cyber security? UMHB could be a great fit for you! We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our Computer Science degree, or stop by for a campus tour!
Brent Harris

Brent Harris

Brent Harris is Vice President for Information Technology and has been at UMHB since 2011. Working with K-12 and university students and families for over 20 years has provided many opportunities to teach and learn about online safety.
Brent Harris

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Brent Harris

About Brent Harris

Brent Harris is Vice President for Information Technology and has been at UMHB since 2011. Working with K-12 and university students and families for over 20 years has provided many opportunities to teach and learn about online safety.