Passwords: General Recommendations

Several months ago I decided to start keeping track of all my accounts that required a login and password.  Since I first posted on this topic in September, I have created a list with 60+ different accounts, all requiring a login and password.  I’m in the process of consolidating and/or purging accounts wherever possible, starting with email.  In case you’re wondering how, or why, I have so many accounts, below is a small sample of the different types.

Social Media

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn

Financial Accounts

  • US Bank
  • Canadian Bank (personal and professional)
  • Savings/Retirement accounts 
  • Credit Cards

Services

  • Frequent Flyer mile programs
  • Internet
  • Cell phone
  • Hydro/Electric

Professional Accounts

  • Administrator sites for blog and website
  • Email subscription service
  • Web hosting service
  • Memberships with professional organizations

Email accounts

  • Personal (3 separate accounts)
  • Professional (4 separate accounts)

As part of my anal-retentive management of these accounts, I feel pressure to come up with unique passwords for each one that are both easy for me to remember and difficult to hack.  Over the years I have developed different techniques to create passwords which have been fairly successful, even when I have to remember a password that I haven’t used in over a year.

My preferred method is to create a pattern that I can apply to create each password. Then I only need to remember one pattern that I can use 60+ times.  Every 12-18 months, I come up with a new pattern and change all my passwords.  Once the new pattern is established, I update my passwords as I use them so the change happens gradually.

I have had more difficulty in devising a system for creating and remember logins.  This is mostly because logins tend to have more creation requirements than passwords.  Some logins are my email address, while others are a portion of my email address, or something completely different.

To learn more about general recommendations for passwords, go here Tips for Creating Unique, Memorable, and Secure Passwords.

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