In an episode of the latest Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie, there is a great moment where Frankie (Lily Tomlin) buys a laptop and asks the much more tech-savvy Grace (Jane Fonda) to help her set it up.
Grace assists Frankie set up a user profile.
Frankie suggests using a password with one of her (adopted) son’s names, but being a security aware individual, Grace says that Frankie should not use any personal information in her password.
So Frankie thinks for a moment. Hmm. Random. And then promptly drags her fingers across the keyboard, back and forth, hitting a whole bunch of keys at once.
It was a cute moment but Grace, still the security aware person in this scene, is no fool.
“No, something you can remember,” Grace tells Frankie. Because who could remember which random keys you drag your fingers across?
Then Grace gives Frankie some excellent password advice: use some inside joke to create the base of the password. Something only Frankie would know.
So, totally in character, Frankie creates a password relating to one of her hobbies and an inside joke she had with someone else (that the audience is not aware of).
The scene earns a couple small laughs and we have a nice security awareness lesson here.
But it could go a step further!
Grace could have said, “Good job. No one will guess 7BONGS right off the bat, but to make it more secure, you should use a combination of upper and lowercase numbers. And throw in a special character just for kicks.”
Also, as many of us well know, most passwords have to be at least 8 characters and many sites require you to use a combination of upper and lower case so 7BONGS would not work in most situations. But as security aware individuals, we all also know that this is not a strong password and Frankie might have wanted to go the passphrase route with something like “7B0NGS4me!”
When all else fails, Ask The Experts: How Can I Make a Stronger Password?