All in all, passwords are insecure. With a quick google, you can identify cracking machines people have put together that will crack any password of 16 characters or less within 8 hours. On the flip side, the pass-the-hash attack doesn’t even require you to crack the password! In simple terms, passwords really aren’t too secure.
But I still have to use passwords all over the place, what do I do? You have a few options. One, use LastPass or another password manager. I use LastPass and love it. Password managers allow you to keep a vault of passwords secured by yet another password (that one better be super strong). They have various features to automatically input your passwords and even auto-log you in. Now the meaning behind the name “LastPass” is coming to light. You can have a different, super-secure, password for each of your web logins.
But I need to use passwords for my computer log in as well! Ok, well a password manager may not be your best answer here as most managers are for your browser. Enter the spreadsheet. WAIT! I THOUGHT YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO WRITE PASSWORDS DOWN?!
Patience. Open up whatever spreadsheet program you use. You’ll use two pages for this operation. On the first, and primary page, you need to make a 6×6 chart of the alphabet and numbers 0-9. Now, add an extra blank row between each one you have now, making it 11 rows tall and still just 6 rows wide. Every other row will be blank. I also suggest making your letters and numbers bold.
Next! Grab a random wordlist generator online (http://listofrandomwords.com/). Generate as many as you want and paste them into a second page or sheet within your spreadsheet. Keep them all in the same row with no blanks separating them. Name this sheet WordList. For this example, I picked 500 words. Below is the equation you will set all of your blank spaces on your primary sheet equal to.
=IF(RANDBETWEEN(0,1)=1, PROPER(INDEX($WordList.$A$1:$A$500,RANDBETWEEN(1, ROWS($WordList.$A$1:$A$500)))),INDEX($WordList.$A$1:$A$500,RANDBETWEEN(1, ROWS($WordList.$A$1:$A$500))))&IF(RANDBETWEEN(0,1)=1, RANDBETWEEN(0,9),CHAR(RANDBETWEEN(33,38)))
That’s an awful, awful, awful equation to try and read. Let’s break it down:
The below line grabs a random word from your WordList sheet (notice the $A$500 which you’d have to change if you have a different number of words). From here on out I’ll substitute the below equation with WORDLIST to help ease your eyes.
The first part is seen below and generates a 0 or 1 randomly.
Then you see:
“PROPER” will capitalize the first letter of a random word in WordList if you get a randomly generated 1 from the first statement.
If you get a 0 it will keep the whole word as it is written in WordList.
Finally, you see this:
Again it generates a random 0 or 1. If it’s 1 you’ll get a random number between 0 and 9 tacked on to the end of the word. If it’s a 0 you’ll get a random special character.
So, what now? Make yourself a simple 4 alphanumeric password like ANT2 then look up what the words are for those characters. On the spreadsheet I have I get this as the password:
That’s a pretty fierce password. Good luck cracking that. According to https://howsecureismypassword.net/ that would take a tredecillion years to crack on a normal PC.
My example sheet can be found here:
Print it. Put it somewhere you’ll always have it. I’m open for improvements!