Mimi is so glad you asked. Surprisingly few people know or care about the four characteristics of strong passwords, which are that they are not easily guessed, contain no personal information, change regularly, and are memorable. At the bottom of our hearts we know good passwords are important, but the problem we all have that they are so inconvenient! How in the world can we be expected to take these four things into account when creating a password, and then to do it regularly? One help is to use so-called Pronouncable Passwords, which are easier to remember. This month, Mimi will share some good tricks for creating them, and introduce you to some handy tools you can use to automatically generate your passwords on demand.

What is a Pronouncable Password and where do I get one?

A pronounable password looks like a word, and sounds like a word, but is not a word! Seriously. Click on the button below to see some pronouncable passwords and you will see what I mean. Ten passwords will be automatically generated, just for you. Keep clicking it until you see one that appeals to you, and that you think you will be able to remember without having to write it down.

(sorry, Java is not enabled on your browser)
The nice thing about using a pronouncable password generator like this one is that the word has nothing to do with you, is of a sufficient length to be reasonably hard to guess, and saves you the trouble of trying to think of one yourself every time you need one.

Not near a password generator? Tell yourself a story!

Think of a phrase that relates to your life that you will always remember, then derive a password from that. You might use the phrase "My mother is an inspiration to me" to generate a password based on the first letter of each word (mmiaitm) or perhaps another letter in each word (yrsnnoe). Presto - this is a great pronouncable password. Not only will you remember it, but you'll feel all warm and happy every time you use it.

Simple tips to making a password stronger

The password you might get above is reasonably secure, but to make it even stronger consider the following tips. Taking mmiaitm as an example:
  • Capitalize one or more of the letters: mMiaitm
  • Change a letter into a number: mMiai2m
  • Add punctuation: mM!iai2m
  • Make sure your password is at least 8 characters long

Keep your password safe!

Once you have your password, do keep it safe:
  • Use a unique, strong password for your mission critical accounts (i.e. the password for your mailbox you log into every day should be unique, as should be the password for your hosting domain control panel).
  • Change your mission critical passwords periodically. You never know when someone might be looking over your shoulder to steal your password (this happened to Mimi at a cybercafe once) or when a disgruntled former employee decides to delete all your e-mail in revenge (this thankfully has not yet happened to Mimi, but you never know).
  • Consider using a separate, low-security password for the various Web sites and online newsletters you subscribe to that are less critical than your mailbox and other mission critical accounts. This password you don't have to change frequently.
  • This may seem difficult to do, but please don't write your important passwords down on a piece of paper and slip it into your wallet or tape it to your monitor for easy reference.
  • Avoid telling anyone your password - and if you have to for some reason, change it as soon as you can.
  • If you have many passwords and are having trouble keeping track, or need to share key institutional passwords among a team of people, consider using a very secure tool like Password Safe (see below).

Kabissa passwords you should change right now

You did recently change your various passwords on Kabissa, right? Wrong. Follow me.. let's go change some right now. The links below will open in a new window so you can easily return here.
  1. Your Organization Profile on Kabissa. Follow the link below to log in and update your profile, and change the password at the same time.
    http://www.kabissa.org/update_profile.html

  2. imp_passwd.gifYour mailbox (if you have one). You can update your mailbox password on Kabissa anytime by logging into Kabissa Webmail at https://webmail.kabissa.org and clicking on the "Change Password" link in the menu.
  3. Your mailing list (if you have one). You can change your mailing list admin and moderator passwords by logging into the admin interface and clicking on "Passwords" in the menu. Type in the new password twice as indicated, and click "Submit your Changes". Be sure to use a different password for Admin and Moderator, and only give the Moderator password to your designated mailing list moderator if you have one.
  4. If you have a domain hosting account on Kabissa, you can change all your passwords via the Plesk domain control panel. Click https://www.kabissa.org:8443 to log in, then follow the instructions below to change passwords.
    • plesk_edit.gifPlesk client password: this is a mission critical password since it provides you with complete access to all aspects of your domain hosted on Kabissa. To change it, log into Plesk and click on the "Edit" menu item. Then fill your new password into the "Password" and "Confirm Password" fields and click "OK" button at bottom.
    • FTP password: this is also a mission critical password since it provides you with access to the files on your Website. To change it, log into Plesk and click on the domain name at the bottom. Then click "Setup" menu item. Fill your new password into the "New FTP Password" and "Confirm Password" fields and click "OK" button at bottom.
    • Mailboxes: you can change passwords either via the webmail interface (see above) or in Plesk. To change a mailbox password in Plesk, log into Plesk and click on the domain name at the bottom. Click "Mail" menu item then click on the mailbox you want to edit. Click on "Preferences" menu item. Fill in the new password in the "New Password" and "Confirm Password" fields and click "OK" button at bottom.
    • Databases: you can change the passwords for any mysql databases you have by logging into Plesk, clicking on the domain name at the bottom, then clicking on "Databases". Click on the database you want to edit, then click on the database user you want to edit. Type in your new password in the "New Password" and "Confirm Password" fields and click "OK" button at bottom. Don't forget to change the password settings in any online scripts or programs you are using or they will stop working!
All done? Great! Now go change your passwords at Yahoo and any other online services you use every day.

If you have any questions about changing passwords, please contact the Kabissa Tech Support team.

Password Generators

  • Kabissa now has a Password Generator available on our website here:
    (sorry, Java is not enabled on your browser)
  • XYZZY is a nifty free Password Generator you to download and use on your computer. Available for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh.
    http://haxial.com/products/xyzzy/
  • Password Safe is a free Microsoft Windows program that helps you to store mission critical passwords in one place behind one password - often referred to as a "password keychain" type program. This is great for sharing passwords with a team, but also to be used with caution since anyone with access to it also has all your passwords! Mimi uses this every day.
    http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/
  • Passwords Plus is a commercial product that helps you to keep your passwords organized on your PC, Mac and PDA. Mimi uses this every day.
    http://www.dataviz.com/products/passwordsplus/index.html

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