To follow up on yesterday's post on password security, here's a tip from Anna Farmery heard on "The Podcast Sisters" podcast, episode 52.
First, for high-security sites like your bank account, nothing less than a random combination of letters and numbers is good enough. But, for other less secure sites like Facebook or Digg, or anyplace where the world won't come to an end if somebody gets your information, this is a neat trick.
Using Facebook as an example, use the name of the site plus your favorite number. For example, facebook1776. The number you use should be something you can remember, but something that's not easily guessed. For added security, since passwords are almost always case-sensitive, capitalize one letter. Of course, it always has to be the same letter or you'll never remember it. For our example, the Facebook password becomes facEbook1776. Our Digg password would be digG1776. Notice that it's the fourth letter that's capitalized. [Hint: Your choice of letter to capitalize shouldn't be much higher than letter number 4. As you can see, if our choice was the fifth letter, we'd be out of luck with Digg.]
By the way, if some of this computer stuff leaves you scratching your head and wondering what's wrong with a pencil and a piece of paper, "The Podcast Sisters, 'The Podcast for non-Geeks'" could be just the thing you need. Every week the "sisters" discuss a computer topic in plain English (British and Irish English actually). It's a great introduction to Web 2.0 and it really is for non-Geeks.