About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

November 20, 2012

P455\/\/0RD5 0|\|(3 4941|\|

OK, you look at the title above and your figure, "Ron has started writing drunk!"  But no, I have not started writing columns while I am drunk or on painkillers.  Previously I wrote about passwords and had several of you write me asking about coming up with letter/symbol substitutions.  If you look closely at the above title you will see it translates into, "Passwords Once Again." Check it carefully and see.  Notice the substitution of "\/\/" for the letter "w" which is the back and forward slashes used to simulate the letter.  This camouflage technique is used again in both of the other words for the letter “n” along with others.  This is an easy way to create some good "hard to hack" passwords.

This is a language known in the geek-world.  It was created and became popular to geeks in the 1980s when the old bulletin board systems were going strong at the beginning of the internet.   It is suggested that they started using this "Leet Speak" to hide folders and files and to keep the "normal" people out of their systems.  "Leet" comes from these folks thinking that they were the new "Elite" in the world so they invented their own alphabet substituting characters, numbers and symbols for correct letters.  The word "Leet" can be written as "1337," "L337,"  "l33t" or any combination that works for you.  It is not impossible to decipher once you read a few lines of Leet Speak; however, if you create passwords using Leet it can make it much harder to break.

I have a theory, too, that at that time geeks were high school boys who may not have done well with English Grammar classes in school.  Leet and many other things they started on the internet were in defiance to the educational establishment.  Sort of like, "I don’t get your stuff, now you can’t understand mine, so there!"  If you were one of them, what do you think?

If you want to create some "Leet Speak" visit "," to easily create or translate your own. 

Let me leave you with one last thought today about passwords.  I had a few emails this week asking where to save passwords, since under the keyboard is not a good place. 

One of the places you will hear many pros reference is "Last Pass." (  I do not recommend it since it stores your information in the cloud.  I still have an uneasy feeling about letting someone I have never met keep all of my "secret" information for me.  Other than that it is a very good application.    

I am a huge fan of "KeePass" ( KeePass is a standalone program which you install on your computer.  With Keepass your data is stored locally on your system.  I have been using that app for many years and it has always performed flawlessly. 

It works on every device I can think of, obviously on Windows, Mac and Linux machines.  Then if you look you can find "Unofficial KeePass" apps for all of the smart phones, blackberry phones, etc.  The ones I have used are excellent. 

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