Doing a wholesale password change

OK. The day has finally arrived. You’ve decided to do something about your passwords. You’ve set aside a couple of hours to power through all of the important systems that you use, and change that password to something strong and unique. Here’s what the 8-step process looks like: -

ONE: Defining our secret password pattern

In order to generate strong passwords, we need to define our own secret password pattern. We're nuts for Chess, so we've decided to base our pattern on a couple of Chess moves - the movement of the knight and the movement of the king. 

Knights move 2 squares in one direction, and then a single square in a perpendicular direction

Knights move 2 squares in one direction, and then a single square in a perpendicular direction

Kings move one square at a time in any direction

Kings move one square at a time in any direction

The first pattern selection is created by a knight’s move, the second by a king’s move. The pattern wanders around the key cards by alternating knight’s and king’s moves. This is just an idea for creating a pattern. Yours won't be the same, but you could use a similar technique.

Using the rules of Chess, we create the following password pattern, starting at 1 and ending at 12.

This awesome password pattern uses a mix of knights and kings chess moves, starting on 1 and finishing on 12

This awesome password pattern uses a mix of knights and kings chess moves, starting on 1 and finishing on 12

TWO: To make this whole process that bit easier, we are going to mark our pattern onto a print-out of one of the Pattern Practice keys found in the book. We'll refer to this as we are creating passwords. In no time, you'll have the pattern committed to memory.

We are now ready to start powering through each entry in the index, securing our important and sensitive systems as we go.

THREE: Open up the Complete Edition of Password Coach at the first page and click on the PASSWORD bit of the logo to jump straight to the Strong Password index

strong password generation

FOUR: Enter into the index the names of the systems that you are going to secure, hitting the TAB key to move between index fields. You don’t have to use consecutive index entries. And you can bunch together sites of similar function (e.g. social media, single sign-on accounts etc). Remember to hit Save in Acrobat to ensure that your index settings are retained within the Password Coach e-book.

using password bingo to secure important accounts

FIVE: To help us wiz through this job, we’re going to print out the index and the first 50 keys from the book. These sit across pages 66-122, so we’re going to specify that range in the Acrobat print dialogue. We'll keep this print-out in a safe place so that we've got it to refer to when we need it.

Your KEY 13 won't look like this.

Your KEY 13 won't look like this.

SIX: To secure our online banking system, we click on '13' in the index to jump straight to Key 13. Once there, we use our password pattern crib sheet to remind us of our pattern, and mentally overlay that pattern onto the key cards to reveal our strong password. In this instance, our password is z=96h4!*K88y.

SEVEN: Now the dull bit - logging into the banking website or app and changing the password. Dull, but necessary. The best way of doing this is often to hit the Forgot Password option on the login page of the system being secured. This initiates the change password function on most websites.

EIGHT: If you are using your browser or a password management system to record your passwords, then you just need to log into the system to be prompted to save your credentials. This is final step in the process.

Once that’s done, draw a smiley face on the printed index page and crack on with securing the next system on the list. These next two hours are going to fly by.