The Password Survival Guide

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Authors: Vicki Ahlstrom
Kenneth Allendoerfer, PhD.

Ahlstrom, V., & Allendoerfer, K. (2006). The password survival guide: A user-friendly resource for technical operations (DOT/FAA/TC-TN06/26). Atlantic City International Airport, NJ: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.


With security becoming increasingly important, users may be faced with 50 or more passwords. Human memory can store only limited amounts of information and can be overloaded by too many passwords. This guide is intended to help password users cope with the increasing number and complexity of passwords by providing strategies for reducing the memory load without compromising password complexity. We developed this document based on field research with Technical Operations personnel. The material is presented in a graphical cartoon format along with limited text narrative.

The goal is to provide a number of easy-to-use strategies in a format that would motivate Technical Operations personnel to read it. The ideas covered are addressed to Technical Operations, but in many cases transcend Technical Operations and apply to passwords in general.