You’ve Been Doing Passwords Wrong All Along

What do William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, John Keats, and Hart Crane all have in common?

800px-Shakespeare

“2B or not 2B, that is the question / whether uppercase is worth its entropy


Their passwords are better than yours. Here’s why:

After having their bank accounts flushed by Nigerian scammers, researchers in Southern California proposed a stronger form of passwords: poems. Yep, for all of your cleverness and complexity in fashioning such phrases as ‘døuch3çan0e’ and ‘R!CHb0yyy69’ — you’ve basically made something harder to remember, but easier to crack.

I like Mr. Munroe’s proposal: just use commonsense words and string them along, like “poopy baby vomit diarrhea fart” which is as strong a password as it is gross.

But say you went with something like “when pizza has cheddar my password has better.” And folks, that’s well-nigh doggerel verse, but that’s the stuff that’ll keep your Instagrams on lock and protected Tweets extra-protected (seriously, who keeps those private? That’s not how that works).

You may one day offer your Wi-Fi password to your friend and tell him:

“Sinuously winding through the room 
On smokey tongues of sweetened cigarettes 
Plaintive yet proud the cello tones resume 
The andante of smooth hopes and lost regrets.”

He’ll be all like, “Dayum, yo. That’s poetry.”

“No,” you’ll reply, “that’s security.”

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