Let See Through Tech be your guide to reducing carbon drawdown a tiny tiny bit
Around a year ago, See Through News was being educated in social media by someone who understands these things rather well, who we call our Piston.
Piston kept on pointing out how rubbish we were at remembering passwords. He claimed he had a foolproof method for generating unique, secure, memorable passwords. You’ll never have to write down, forget, or re-set a password ever again, promised Piston.
Eventually, we gave in, and found it worked. See Through Tech is now passing on this Trick to you.
The method takes a couple of minutes to understand, a few more minutes to execute, plus however much time it takes for you to update all the passwords you’re currently recycling/ forgetting/writing down.
But invest a few minutes in this See Through Tech Trick and:
- You’ll never forget another online password
- You’ll never have to write any password down
- You’ll be as safe from hackers as is reasonably possible (no code is 100% unbreakable)
Websites nearly all now insist you use passwords that are:
- At least 10 characters, the longer the better
- A mixture of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, digits and punctuation marks/special characters.
To make it harder for robots or scammers, you should also have:
- A unique password for every account
Our See Through Tech Trick provides passwords that sail past all these requirements, while only requiring you to remember one method. Because your method is unique to you, it generates unique passwords. It uses an algorithm that makes sense to you alone, as it’s based on your unique personal history, using details which are unsearchable online. You’ll never find yourself in the Catch-22 of depending on a defunct email account for password recovery.
Here, then, are two sets of flat-pack instructions to assemble your very own DIY algorithm. Both form unique passwords from three blocks: two never vary, one changes based on the website for which you need a password.
- The Quick & Dirty Version immediately massively improves your security
- The De Luxe Version takes a few minutes longer, but will be virtually unbreakable
QUICK AND DIRTY VERSION
3 Blocks: Block A & Block B stay the same, Block C is determined by the website you’re signing up to.
- Any address that you’ve never lived at +
- *£* +
- the first and last characters of the website you’re signing up to
If you’re signing up to twitter.com, that could be: 116OaklandParkAvenue*£*tm
If you’re signing up to yahoo.co.uk, that could be: 116OaklandParkAvenue*£*yk
If you’re signing up to snapchat.com, that could be: 116OaklandParkAvenue*£*sm
This Quick & Dirty Version is super simple to remember, and will almost certainly immediately be much more secure than any system involving recycled and tweaked pet names written in notebooks.
DE LUXE VERSION
Like the Quick & Dirty Version, you never have to write De Luxe Version down (unless you want others to access your accounts after you die or fear losing your cognitive faculty).
It takes a few more minutes to learn, but provides a virtually unbreakable password code generator and repository forever.
STEP 1 Get Personal with BLOCK 1
Without ever telling anyone else or writing anything down, pick a string of numbers and characters that
a) are meaningful to you
b) can’t be linked to you via an online search
c) you’ll never forget.
- Say your best friend at primary school, whose house you’d go round to on play dates, was 116 Oakland Park Avenue. Abbreviate it in some way that combines UPPER and lower case characters, e.g.:
- The licence registration number plate of a family car from your childhood, or a college friend, with at least one lower-case character, e.g.
- The post-code of a favourite pub where you used to drink, again with at least one lower-case character, e.g.
Whatever you choose, this forms one of the unchanging blocks in your algorithm. You only have to pick one (or more, for even more security) – and to remember it.
STEP 2 Get Visual with BLOCK 2
Without ever telling anyone else or writing anything down, pick a string of special characters/punctuation marks you find memorable.
The more the better, but in combination with your other blocks, anything more than 2 is already super-hard to crack.
As they’re meaningless, visualisation helps. Some examples:
STEP 3 Get URLy: BLOCK 3
Now for the critical variable element that makes every password unique.
Without ever telling anyone else or writing anything down, invent any method for analysing a string of characters. All that matters is:
a) you remember it
b) you never tell anyone what it is
- Add up the total numbers of vowels and consonants
- Count the number of lower-case letters with an enclosed space you can colour in with a crayon (e.g., g/o/a/e/)
- Imagine your primary school handwriting practice book with ruled lines, and count how many characters dip below the lower line (e.g. g/y/p) and how many above the upper line (e.g. l/f/t/b).
- Count the number of characters that appear in the Roman numeral numbering system (i.e. MDCLXVI). Then count the number of characters that appear as the second letter of each word in the sentence ‘It was the best of times’ (i.e. t, a, h, e, f, i)
- Count the number of crossed characters (t) and dotted characters (i,j)
Having chosen – and remembered! – your formula, now look at the string of characters in your browser window (the bit that follows www., or https//:) and apply the secret algorithm you’ve just created.
For example, applying the above five algorithms to:
- 48 (4 vowels + 8 consonants)
- 4 (4 x characters you can fill in, a,g, a, o)
- 11 (1 x below the line (g) and 1 x above the line (t))
- 44 (4 x roman numeral characters, i,m,c,m plus 4 x ‘it was the best of times’ second characters)
- 11 (1 x crossed ‘t’ 1 x dotted ‘i’)
Applying the same five algorithms to a different URL almost certainly generates a different result, e.g.,
- 68 (6 vowels + 8 consonants)
- 5 (5 x characters you can fill in, o, d, o, d, o)
- 04 (0 x below the line and 4 x above the line (d,l,d,k)
- 30 (3 x roman numeral characters, d,c,c plus 0 x ‘it was the best of times’ second characters)
- 00 (0 x crossed ‘t’ 0 x dotted ‘i, j’)
STEP 4 Get Safe:
You’re now ready to throw away your Post-it notes, your little black book, the slips of paper in your purses and wallets, your grab-bag of recycled pet names and maiden names, the secret note file on your phone.
Now everything you need is stored in only one place, between your ears.
You only need to remember those three blocks. They enable you to customise unique, virtually unbreakable passwords, by combining two fixed things that only you can know with variables thrown up by the particular URL you’re signing up to
For example, if you decide to sequence them Block 1, Block 2, Block 3 (though there’s no reason why you should), and use one of the options suggested above, your password might turn out to be:
1sixteenOaklandPkAve)!!(48 for your instagram account
1sixteenOaklandPkAve)!!(68 for your soundcloud account
Had you picked a different algorithm and block sequence, it would have generated:
11£€$116OaPaAv for your instagram account
07£€$116OaPaAv for your soundcloud account
When you see them next to each other like this, these passwords may look insecurely similar, but
- the only place this algorithm is recorded is between your ears
- a single incorrect character is as good as a miss for any attempt at code-cracking
Top Tip: Write down your special formula to start with, as a crutch. After replacing a few of your existing passwords, you’ll soon acquire a mental muscle memory. Once you realise you’ve not consulted your cheat sheet for a few revisions, you can destroy it (or include it in your instructions to your executors in your will).
So welcome to the See Through Tech Trick. It might look complicated – this is why it works – but if you follow these instructions and try it out a few times, you’ll discover its power.
And you’ll never forget, or have to write down, another password, ever again.
What does any of this have to do with the See Through News Goal of speeding up carbon drawdown?
Well, spending less time faffing about remembering stuff and burning up server capacity somewhere will make a teeny tiny marginal difference.
But the main reason is the fact that you started reading this, and are still reading this, exemplifies our methodology.