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Yep, I do the same thing... AND, I learned a very hard lesson: NEVER use the same password anywhere, that you use to log into your ISP!!!!
One of the hobby sites I visit was hacked last spring. All they got was the E-mail addresses and the log-on password for that site, but as I was quick to find out, the hacker then uses those passwords to see if the E-mail address user was stupid enough to use it on thier own log-in. So, they log-in to my ISP, grab the top tier of my mailing list and then send robo-mailings for all kinds of crap. Fortunately my son called me almost immediately and asked if I really thought he needed "Viagra".
I was on a site where they had this tool that told you how strong your password was and suggestion on how to make it "better". When I used one of my regular passwords it said it was weak and I should add some numbers. So I added a few digits and it said it was still weak and that I should use some capital letters... so I added a few caps as well. Next it told me I should add some symbols so I did that as well. So by now my new password was completely impenetrable, indestructible and down right awesome... unfortunatly for me it was so darn impenetrable, indestructible and down right awesome that I couldn't never ever remember the darn thing. :/ I think it was %F**k1n0v&ak0hwq@3$jLL09az or something close to that.
Funny thing perhaps is that "passwords" to be actually safe and foolproof, have to be unique and unconnected to the individual... AND, they have got to be "unhackable". Now, that software that you use to keep all of your passwords conveniently on your computer somewhere, is "hackable". Sounds like it might be safe, but all that a hacker has to do is buy the software, use it himself and then hack how the password storage is done. If they can do that (it's not easy, but it is doable), then they've unlocked the key to anyone using that software.
Writing your password down someplace is only as secure as your workspace. I can't tell you how many times I've seen office workers just rummage through a desk, or worse just pull open the writing tray to find the person's passwords.
(I've even seen really stupid stuff like the time when our local Air Force Reserve (9102nd) was deactivated back in the mid-60's. My squadron inherited most of thier materials and non-transferred items. As the supply NCO at the time, I processed all of the transfer paperwork and inventory lists. Their Safe, a Mosler (sp?) didn't have paperwork for the combination... but when we pulled it out from the wall, we found the combination stenciled to the side of it!!!! (Now there's security for you.)
The other trend is for a person to use something familiar, because it's easy to remember. Usually that's a name of a child, wife, or other meaningful relation or perhaps even the name for your car or a wedding anniversary, or even a phone number. I remember when my kid was asked to "house-sit" for a rather well-to-do neighbor. They left for a couple of weeks and he went over to the house and discovered it had a keypad entry... which they had forgot to give him. He came back home and said he couldn't get in.... then after a few minutes he went back over to the house and when he came back said, "I figured it out... they used their phone number!" He was 13 at the time.
Of course today, he doesn't seem all that security minded. He keeps his wireless network router on all the time. I guess it doesn't matter much that you can read that thing from across the street or three houses on either side of him. That might be a tough one to hack in order, but probably no more so than his cell phone. I remember reading once where the Soviet embassy in the "silicone valley" area, sat up on a hill overlooking the valley. With their electronic equipment they could read the keyboard switch clicks from a mile away. Security is not so full-proof I think. The point of good security is not so much totally keep anyone out, but to at least know when you've been breached so you can take measures to counteract it.
I was given a "password" book for Christmas this year. Nice, it is alphabetically indexed and should be used to enter the web addresses and the passwords I need to log onto them. Gee, wouldn't that be convenient for both me and anyone breaking into my house... gee, I wish I had that old Mosler safe from the 9102nd to keep it in.
I use relatives nicknames along with 4 numbers that are easy for me to remember,
but otherwise would not be associated with them
the trouble is I can't always remember which passwords go with which websites
CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
SINCE JAN. 1989
Something to try is remember a constant number...let's say 26. Store or write your password whereever but remember that all the numbers in your password need 26 added to it. So Asd5*N8 would actually be Asd31*N34.