Use Your Password To Improve Your Life

Use Your Password to Improve Your Life

Several times a day, every day, you have to enter passwords, whether it's to unlock your computer, phone or password manager. Take your password to the next level by turning it into a mantra that can actually change your life.

Picture: marc falardeau/Flickr

Mauricio Estrella writes on Medium about how he was going through a difficult divorce and depression. One day, his company's server required him to change his password (as it had every month before that, per terrible password policy), and he changed it to "[email protected]", thereby changing his life:

My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn't let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I'm strong enough to do something about it.

[...] I had to type this statement several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screensaver with her photo would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone.

In my mind, I went with the mantra that I didn't type a password. In my mind, I wrote "Forgive her" everyday, for one month.

That simple action changed the way I looked at my ex wife. That constant reminder that I should forgive her, led me to accept the way things happened at the end of my marriage, and embrace a new way of dealing with the depression that I was drowning into.

In subsequent months, recovering from his breakup, Estrella changed his password to "[email protected]", "[email protected]", "[email protected]" and so on, mostly with success at achieving those goals.

Your password could be more than just a digital key to your gadgets. It can also serve as a constant reminder of where you want to go next. (Just make sure you make it long and complex and use a password manager for all the passwords you don't have to remember.)

How a password changed my life. [Medium]


Comments

    Sounds like he needs to "[email protected]!P" rather than setting his password to his problems

      Why would he need to seek help? It clearly worked for him

    I use a similar method to help myself remember important dates from history. For example, the password ww1.july28,1914 could help you remember the day the first world war started.

    Coool. This month W1nL0tt0, followed by next month StrandedOnDe55ert1sl4ndwith5wim5suitM0del5

    As a security nut, I would also say don't do anything like this.

    It's beyond words with letter/number substitutes (easy to hack) but related words - forgive her, wow, so unique, @ is very common as the middle symbol...

    The password blows, and there are other ways to reinforce behavior and thoughts.

      I've found that when passwords are changed due to a monthly requirement they become less and less secure.

      As for security do you mean from a brute force method with unlimited guesses? Because if your running a company where you require monthly password changes you'd probably put in a limited number of attempts before locking it down completely.

      I'm going to put a password right here, it's not a real one. It has 23 letters only, no numbers, no symbols and only made of four common words arranged into a silly sentence. It's not case sensitive. I don't think you can crack it without looking. It's easy for a Human to remember and hard for a computer to brute force.
      BlackPoodleRunningChair

      Last edited 02/07/14 6:51 pm

        C0rrect battery horse staple July 2014

        That's how I deal with monthly password changes that remember all previous passwords.
        (if you crack it, I bet you can't guess what my password will be next month)

        Better than that is institutions like American Express that say:

        "Your password must be more than 8 characters, but less than 14, and include at least one number, one capital letter and one lower case letter, and may only use the characters ". , _ and -".

        Thanks for the illusion of security Amex, you've reduced your entropy and forced me to email the password to myself, and save it in the browser so I can login to your site.

          I knew a guy who used to use a dictionary, any word over 7 letters under 11 (14 character limit) plus his Capital, Number and Symbol. He ripped the page out when it was out of words.

          I will never understand the 14 character limit on passwords it tends to tell me how easy their system is to Brute force.

        As always, I suggest the very well written article series on Ars Technica around how hackers actually work.

        They do get to brute force - everything - once a system's password database has been stolen. If you haven't noticed, the trend for most companies after being compromised is to not tell users for some time. Since many people reuse the same email/password combination, there's an instant win for hackers.

        Character substitution, adding symbols between letters, dates on the end (as in the below post), deliberately misspelling words, etc, add literally a fraction of a second to a hacker using a graphics card powered rig on a hashed password db.

        And don't get me started on that XKCD comic... That comic actually made hacker's lives easier. @xqx - you're not doing yourself any favours.

        The best defence is randomly generated passwords, changed once every 1-3 months. Even if one site gets compromised, the others are safe. If you think mashing a keyboard is 'random', it isn't. There are very noticeable patterns in random keypresses that are factored into some hacker's algorithms (again, the Ars Technica series on this is very in-depth, and much of the software to do this is open source).

        Just get a password manager, really. Best things ever.

    His first password would take forever to crack with either bruit force or dictionary. there's no issue with it.

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