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Safety First - Three Random Words for Password Creation



Three Random Words for Password Creation

By:  Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer, Roseville Police Department


Professor Mary Reed, of the Rochester Institute of Technology, recently wrote an article connecting the math behind a geographic mapping application, what3words, and creating secure passwords that a human being can actually remember. 


Technology is integrated into everything we do and most pieces of technology require a password. A strong password will:


  1. Help you avoid ID Theft
  2. Make it easy remember
  3. Better secure your valuable information


Here’s the next steps to create a strong a memorable password.


The first part of this password creation concept is what3words uses an "ordered triple" set of random words to identify a particular geographical location on the Earth.  An 'ordered triple' is just a list of three things in which the order matters. For example, "box.ladder.pup" would be considered a different ordered triple than "ladder.box.pup".


The next piece is the pool of words available to use.  Some scholars estimate there are more than a million English words, with many being very uncommon. For their mapping application, what3words came up with a list of 40,000 English words.  Allowing word repeats, which means there are 40,000 possibilities for the first word, 40,000 for the second, and 40,000 for the third.  The number of possible ordered triples would be 40,000 x 40,000 x 40,000, equaling 64 trillion possible ordered triples.  Remember, that's for a limited word pool of 40,000 words. Consider the amount of ordered triples for a word pool of 171,476 - the amount of words in common use in the Oxford English Dictionary!


If you string together an ordered triple of words (i.e. ladderboxkitten), that becomes a password you should be able to remember much easier than a random string of letters, numbers, and special character designed to meet a set of complexity rules.  If your password requires special characters, it would be fairly easy to pop one in (&ladderboxpup); or capitals and special characters (&Ladderboxpup).


While the three random words method isn't fail safe for password security, the complexity of language provides amazing power to help one to create and remember a password that works for them and security requirements.



How math and language can combine to map the globe and create strong passwords, using the power of 3 random words (theconversation.com)

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