Picking a password is never easy

Bewildering assortment of keystrokes just too confusing

For almost two weeks I’ve been stymied trying to concoct a safe password. No matter what combination of letters and numbers I submit, the web page determines it to be “Weak” or “Moderately Safe”.

The web page Wikihow is full of suggestions that I find difficult to execute. For instance, it begins, “Do not use words or phrases that have personal significance.” That rules out the bank security box system where many people assign their mother’s maiden name or some such easily recalled word. But if I pick a totally random phrase as a password, my chances of recalling it even five minutes later would be unlikely.

Suggestion #2:  Mix letters, numbers and symbols, and case sensitivity jumbling capital letters, small letters, and symbols written by both lower case and upper case keys. The result, an odd mixture that looks like cartoon cussing, may be a password hard for even a computer to crack, but equally tough for me to remember unless I write it down, and hide the notes in several places. Wikihow warns against notes in case they are found.

#3:  Find a good way to remember your chosen password. One of my six-year-old passwords was a daily Google alert when I was tracking a criminal proceeding. The criminal proceeding culminated years ago and now I have difficulty recalling the password. Names of favourite authors have worked for me in less crucial instances.

Wikihow says choose a sentence that will help you remember the password. If you do, you will have twice as much to remember — the key sentence, and the resulting password. Wikihow advocates taking a common word or name, interspersing the letters with assorted upper and lower case numbers and symbols.  A nightmare for anyone to type.

#4:  Mix in punctuation — periods, commas, exclamation points,  colons … Exactly how you can remember which punctuation mark falls where, I have no idea.

#5:  Move your fingers one row up on the keys, or one row over, just as you might when typing without good lighting. Although this is far from difficult to figure out. The day I moved my right hand one key over, it took no time at all to accurately re-type an entire paragraph once I typed the first word correctly, simply by moving my hand back to its proper position.

#6:  Try to memorize the password. Good luck with that.

#7:  The longer the password, the better.

I haven’t given up. Nor has the scam artist(s) seeking my permission to attach my name as the beneficiary to an estate, held currently in the United Kingdom, and worth only $6.8 million U.S. whereas at the end of March it was worth $8.6 million U.S.

The first two letters arrived March 31 and April 10 from lawyers in Madrid. This June 4 arrival, mailed  “while he was in Canada on special assignment” showing a return address of P.O. Box 4369 Station A, Toronto M5W 3P2, and postmarked 7031869, comes from auditor Adam S. Westwood bearing an office address of 246 Upper Street, London.

All three letters share identically worded paragraphs, including grammar and punctuation errors.

The March and April letters identified my “relative” as David Sandecki, a  business magnate who lived in Spain before his  death in  2004. David has now  morphed into John, who lived in U.K. for over a decade prior to his death along with his nuclear family during a car accident in London.

Once again I musn’t worry. Though Westwood is aware John Sandecki is not related to me, the auditor has “modalities” in place assuring me I will stay out of  legal trouble if I play along with his shady deal. In return I will receive 80 per cent of John’s fortune; Westwood will pocket the other 20 percent as “commission for his services.”