GPW: generate pronounceable passwords

November 14th, 2007 edited by Tincho

Article submitted by Jared Raddigan. Please help DPOTD by submitting good articles about software you like!

Passwords can be a headache to remember, especially good, long passwords. Well, luckily for us Tom Van Vleck agrees, so he wrote a program to make pronounceable passwords up to 99 characters long.

Where do I primarily use this program? I use this program when trying to come up with WPA2 personal keys. I want the password to be good enough to protect the wireless network, but I don’t want it to be so good that I can never remember or type it in correctly. It’s amazing when you can pronounce something how much easier it is to remember and how much happier your end users are.

You can also use it for your email account, for storing your confidential data and, of course, for your GNU/Linux account! Using gpw is very easy:

$ gpw [number of passwords] [length of passwords]

So to make 5 passwords with the length of 12 characters just do

$ gpw 5 12

I usually run the command a number of times until I find a password that fits my needs the best.

In high security situations passwords are no longer acceptable, but when a password is needed, this is a good way to get a decent password that’s much better than using your dog’s name or the ever elusive “password” password. If you really want to increase security while still using a password, just change the length to something like 20 characters or above and then you can say that you no longer use passwords and switched to pass phrases and impress all your friends.

You will find gpw in both all versions of Debian and Ubuntu

Update: as mentioned in the comments, you can also check out pwgen. It is another password generator that creates somewhat pronunceable passwords, but can also generate them with symbols and numbers, and doens’t use any dictionary.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

6 Responses

  1. HoverHell Says:

    There’s also pwgen password generator (mentioned in gpw manpage, wow), that generates pronounceable passwords, too.
    Differences: 1. pwgen also can generate passwords with other symbols, and 2. it doesn’t use words dictionary.

  2. Samat Jain Says:

    apg (Automated Password Generator) is another program that can generate pronounceable passwords. It also provides the pronunciation:

    $ apg

    Dystoish7 (Dyst-oish-SEVEN)
    Thuwijkag7 (Thu-wij-kag-SEVEN)
    mivyacJak7 (miv-yac-Jak-SEVEN)
    jojKonk5 (joj-Konk-FIVE)
    1Shlelok9 (ONE-Shlel-ok-NINE)
    hekAdjuiv4 (hek-Ad-ju-iv-FOUR)

  3. Quidpro Says:

    All of these look great. I was unaware of pronounceable password generators as a whole. I try to use phrases wherever I can, but often find my creative efforts blocked by character limits. I’m sure these will help.

  4. Turbo Says:

    I use a song lyric scheme to generate passwords and it has served me well for years:

    “Welcome to the jungle, We’ve got fun and games.”

    “four score and seven years ago our fore fathers”

    And, etc.

  5. Alejandro Says:

    how come “proothesside” is pronounceable? =/

  6. mvanbaak Says:

    I use the following command to generate passwords:
    openssl rand -base64 6

    Openssl is installed on every machine I ever got access to, so I guess it’s better then some specific tool.