Pseudo-Random Observations

I’ve been building a password generator the past few days. It takes words from the dictionary at random* and then combines them with punctuation and numeric characters.

I have elaborated on a few methods of personal information security before (here and here). I still prefer to

  • never use a password for more than one site/service/login, and
  • not even know most of my passwords, and
  • let software generate them for me

But I guess I can see a need for passwords that are memorable, or at least easy to visually read and type in on another screen (perhaps a miniature one, or a computer you don’t own). That’s when passwords made out of words my brain knows, like

Sideswiped7-preparedness's

have an advantage over a more random string of characters like

hyV%<m-Wtfa,8I5V$paAObW6gj

…Try reading that off your phone and typing it into someone else’s computer!

Thanks, xkcd!
Click it for the whole comic. Thanks, xkcd!
I was inspired by the Password Strength edition of the xkcd comic, but:

  • Lots of services I use require a capital letter, a numeral, and a punctuation character, and
  • Most of them don’t support password lengths high enough to permit the “correct horse battery staple”-style of passwords.

And, I see that I’m not the only one — visit http://correcthorsebatterystaple.net if you like. The reason I decided to build my own generator, instead of using that one: the site’s not available via HTTPS. It doesn’t make much sense to me to generate passwords — presumably for securing stuff you care about — when that connection is snoopable.

So, I made one, secured it, and while testing it, some really interesting combinations have come up — at pseudo-random:

  • 9pickers$Negotiate
  • advert's~Dishonesty's4
  • 9Inbred/mulishness
  • 1Quibblers(guesstimate's
  • 8monkeys-Propagandizing
  • Sodom's=1visit's
  • 4Sacerdotal:chaplaincy
  • Equivalence|physics9
  • 1Kiddies!matriculation
  • detested(Altruists5
  • organisms>Pantries5
  • insouciant~Corrupter5

*Well, as random as possible, given the pseudo-random number generator I’m using. I consider it random enough.

3 thoughts on “Pseudo-Random Observations”

  1. The Honourable Husband

    Indeed, Cliff, these combinations don’t seem awfully random. Sodom’s Visit sounds like a movie I recall seeing online. Detested Altruists probably comes from Atlas Shrugged. And I shall not even comment on Adverts Dishonesty, except to say that’s been illegal for quite some time.

    1. cliff1976

      Well, to be fair, these are just the “most interesting” out of the several hundred I must have generated in a couple days.

      Perhaps the real story here is how my brain finds context for connections between otherwise unconnected dictionary entries.

  2. TravelingServiceMan

    It’s not a password generator, it’s a Rock band name generator!

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