I have come up with a fool-proof system of choosing passwords that works Image Credit: Supplied

I was reading the other day that millions of people in Britain use their pet’s name as their password. The National Cyber Security Centre says 15 per cent use their dog, cat or pet rabbit’s name as their code, another 14 per cent use a family member’s name, and another 13 per cent use a notable date. Is it any wonder we have an issue with cyber security?

According the cyber security experts, 6 per cent of think we’re smart when we use “password” as part of our password; another 6 per cent choose their favourite football team; yet another 6 per cent use a string of numbers like “123456” as the codes; and 5 per cent use a favourite television show.

Now I’m not computer genius, but based on the above, I should be able to get into roughly two-third of the computers in the UK by using the cheater codes listed above.

Automatic password generators

Now I will admit that I don’t trust things like automatic password generators that put together a unique string of code and save them for future use. I have fear – call me old fashioned if you will – but I have a fear that I’ll be locked out of the system somehow when they fail. Maybe I’m a Luddite, but I just don’t fully trust them.

The irritating thing is that systems administrators always want you to use a combination of numbers and letters along with unique symbols, and then they want you to change them every 90 days. And for about two weeks before a new password is due, you’ll get a string of messages warning you that you have only so many days left before your password expires.

Is it really any wonder that this level of cyber intimidation and constant barrage of more threatening emails warning of the dire consequences of not changing your password soon prompts people to revert to Fido, Whiskers, ManUtd, Doctor Who, mypassword, 123456 and the like. I mean it’s no wonder people think of the first thing that comes to mind – or will come to mind when they have to sign on.

A fool proof system that works

But I have come up with a fool-proof system that works. And when I say fool-proof, I mean it works for this fool here. Right, it’s pretty simple, and works – and meets all of those end-of-the-world protocols demanded by system administrators. And this is how it works…

Think of a favour place like the street you grew up on, the district or village where you lived and the post code, Or even the bus number you had to take home. All that matters is that you have a name and number – or number and name – the order is all yours.

All you have to do is remember the name and number. Anytime there’s a letter ‘i’, turn it into the number ‘1’. If there’s an ‘o’, that becomes the number ‘0’. If there’s an ‘s’, that becomes the letter ‘5’. It might seem complicated – trust me, it’s not. So a work like ‘Jumeriah’ becomes Jume1rah, or ‘Rover’ becomes ‘R0ver’ if you want to continue to use dog’s names.

And this is where my system becomes clever – even if I say so myself. Whenever you use a number like your birthyear, use it, but then repeat it using the symbols that appear directly over each number. So, 1960 for example would become 1960!(^). So, if you son’s name is Simon and he was born in 1990, the password would be S1m0n1990!(().

Say, for example, you take the No.23 bus to Safa Park, then use SafaPark23@£.

I know it seems complicated, it’s actually quite simple and brilliant.

Think of a name and number, then replace the numbers with the symbols above them.