How to Pick a Password

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Reader Comments (32)

Generating passwords on the fly is the only reason I picked up on l33t-speak. Once you have your own dialect down, it's easy to come up with hard to guess, but easy to remember passwords.

December 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Bennett

All of my passwords are my first name in all lowercase letters.

January 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercoffe whore

holy sheep dip batman! coffe whore stole my password! i have to use like a trillion passwords between work and classes...it sucks.

January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJiggly McSickfingers

So I find that the best password are the shows you like and the episode number or an album and a track that is good. Since I watch shows from overseas guessing my password would only be easy if you speak Japanese, Korean, Spanish and English.

January 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDarkescaflowne

Random letter generation... Use the same random password for 50 services...

February 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Rob

coffe whore can't spell coffee

March 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNever

OK! OK! OK!

Here is the bestestestest password in the world. It's 7 chars long and it is DEAD easy to remember and it is way hard for anyone that hasn't been intimate with you for your entire life to crack. You ready for this.

The date (month/day) of the worst thing you've ever had to endure followed by the initials of the person responsible for it. So... 0617Dw. On June 17th, Deesie Wheendle broke your heart by actually telling you her name was in fact "Deesie Wheendle". Or what have you.

Only your mother and siblings would be able to guess into that pass word.

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim & Joey

Or... um... or six chars. *fake cough*

April 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim & Joey

I usually make mine the name of the website the pass is for. A pass on this site would be "basicinstructions".
More important passwords I usually make seemingly random bunches of numbers so I can type them in with one hand on the num-pad. This makes it easy to type it in fast, hard to tell what you are hitting since you don't need to move hand to go from 1 to 9 for example, and your hand covers all the numbers anyway.
A pass I'd consider would be like "894324". Notice how it just rolls off the fingers. Same can be applied to letters.

April 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlef

"Shil0h5h33pd0g" is more than 12 characters.

August 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWill

I pick one word, capitalize a certain letter, and add a 1 or a 2 at the end. Mine used to be aLlison1. Now it's different.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersomeone

My social insurance number and 4 characters that remind me of the site they're being used for, this always exceeds 12, but I'm rarely forced to play their stupid games, if my passwords not good enough, thena neither am I. Also in the 90s I used 4 digit passwords. I still use those because as evidenced by my using my SIN, I'm an ass.

April 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJust a Guy

One time I read about someone testing a certain password on several users in an Internet game. The password was "jesus", without any variations, and it worked in about 25% of the cases.

Make of that what you will.

May 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Creed

They picked 'Jesus' because they were dismayed that they had to pick a password:

-- <ENTER PASSWORD>

-- "Oh, Jesus! Not again!"

QED.

May 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErik K

You kinda make a big deal outta this. I always use the same stupid same song name. It's not like there are hundreds of pervs trying to crack it just pick something not to obvious and you'll be ok/

July 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterww

I make my password the first letter of every word in a sentence i think up, and any word that can be changed into a number (for = 4, ate = 8, etc) becomes the number. If i need special characters, i normally put an exclamation at the end, the word at (@), or the word number (#).
Example: Basic Instructions is the number one site in the world = "Biit#1sitw"

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Finestein

I just have a half assed password unless the account is important

August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIcalasari

I'm Dutch and I use 'wachtwoord' (the Dutch word for password) when prompted in English for a password, and 'password' when prompted in Dutch.
Perhaps add a 0 or 1 if digits are needed.
my name and powers of 2 are another fav (I used to be a programmer) eg 655356 (=64K) or 16384(16K)
I grew up with Z80's and 6502's and 6505's. Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur ;)

September 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkobus

No one cares how you come up with your stupid password. It's a goddamn comic not a book on all the ways a bunch of morons come up with passwords, great comic but everyone else is retarded

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

An easy way to make a messed up password that is easy to remember is to type the key immediately to the left of the one you want. So "shilohsheepdog" would become "agukigagwwosif."

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrent

im wit stupid..*cough cough8..i mean Brendan..

January 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJake nd the fat man

My passwords. usually the last 8 digits of an old video game's CD key. Technicly, it is written down so I can't really forget it, but at the same time, someone who busts in doesn't know it is written down, and doesn't know which among the large library of games it is. After entering said password a couple dozen times, its all muscle memory.

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHyperinferno

The way I do my passwords that really need to be secure is as follows:

Take your favorite song and a single verse from that song. Take the first letter of each word and there's your password. If you need a number, follow it by the two digit year the song was released. This provides me with a 26 digit, seemingly random pile of gobbly-gook for my router password. One that, in my opinion, would be almost impossible to crack.

July 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean

I often get emotional with my passwords, and am tempted to create longass passwords like 'ifeellikedeckingthisbitchsittingbesideme@#%@#@!'

but then I get reprimanded by the site for being too wordy and angry.

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaeleia

i put my password as this sort of thing
*(nickname)iza(favouritepet)*
so if your name was charlie and you had a cat it would be
charzizacat
try to include letter zs where there should be ss or no letter at all no one guesses them

mine was Twelve12 for a few years. It was perfect. some sites require a 6-8 character password, some require 8+, some need upper and lowercase letters and numbers, some can't handle any kind of symbol. This fit in perfectly with all of them.

September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLily_J

A nonsense sentence. Be sure to have a noun and a verb. If they require numbers, pick one (and only one) letter to make into a random number.

Now you have to remember a nonsense sentence (which should yield a silly picture in your mind) and two numbers. The first number is the number you entered into the string. The second number is the index of the letter you replaced.

Length works better than anything else at adding degrees of complexity, and most number substitutions are depressingly similar (making it easy to include them in an attack).

For more security on sites that don't require a number, you can use a special character instead, and simply remember its alt code.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFreeFall

To be quite honest, most of the password methods I've seen here are incredibly pathetic. Here's how I generate my passwords:

I initially set up a pattern for my password. L is letter and N is number (honestly, with a method like this, caps are obselete)

So the pattern may be

NLNLLNL

Then, I just position my hands to hit the proper key type, and strike out at random. The resulting password would look something like

7d0ga2v

Guess who's never going to get that password? Anyone who tries. Practice it on Notepad, repeat it about two dozen times, and it becomes almost burned into your memory, the way you still remember lines you may have been forced to write in detention in grade 6.

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay

the dumbest thing is to tell anyone your system for passwords.

human intel is how most systems are compromised. best to remain a silent enigma.

December 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermoops

Sudden glut of comments on an age-old comic - will have to add it to the list of provocateur comments Scott (to join Mac/Windows and copyright dates)!

Freefall's comment reminded me of the also-excellent Randall Monroe: http://xkcd.com/936/... as for this comic, credit to Scott for getting further than me - my head's generally drooped to a panel-4 position while I'm still coming up with a panel-3 password ;)

December 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I remember this one website I had to sign up for, the password had to include at least
1 uppercase character
1 lowercase character
1 number
8 characters total

And couldn't
Have more than 3 of the same character period
Contain any part of my e-mail address

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterButtons

Password managers are great. Just remember one difficult password and use 50-character nonsense passwords on every site you know. My favourite is 1Password — it's not free but it runs and syncs on my devices. And it does my laundry.

July 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStan March

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