Long gone are the days when you could create a password by spelling your name backwards. Or using your numeric birth date.
To create a strong password, many websites now offer a ‘strength meter’ when you choose a password to show you how strong your password is as you create it. Long, meaningless strings of caps and lower case letters mixed with numbers and special characters make an awesome password – but trying remembering it without writing it down can mean lots of wasted time going through the ‘Lost Password’ process to recover and recreate another long, complicated password you won’t remember next time. The cycle continues.
Adding to that complexity, we need passwords for just about everything we do today online – and they should all be different. I haven’t ever actually counted my passwords, but as a rough estimate, I know I have over 300 different passwords.
Kind of reminds me of Susan Powter back in the 90s, yelling “Stop the Insanity!”
Here are some ideas for creating strong passwords you will actually remember.
- Choose a favorite quote, or passage from a book or poem you love.Add special characters and numbers throughout as they make sense. For this example, I chose the following quote:
“Know or listen to those who know.”
You can turn that into a password like this:
I converted each letter o to the number zero, changed the word ‘to’ to a number two, and added punctuation that I can remember in places that make sense to me. I also attributed the quote at the end with a dash followed by the last name.
- Use that favorite quote, passage or line from a poem and create an acronym to use as a password:
Using the example above, the password acronym would be K,0L2Twk-G
- Create a sentence that integrates the name or purpose of the website to make it unique
- Make a tagline for your experience on that particular website and run with it in creating a strong password. For example, if I were creating a password for logging in to my Chase bank account where my house mortgage is held, I might come up with something like:
S0m3d4y,1w1ll0wn*Ur*House,Chase! (Someday, I will own your house, Chase)
(Note that some sites won’t let you use certain special characters, like the asterisk)
It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you…and better if it doesn’t! Be creative.
Finally, I’m not a big fan of electronic keychains or password collection apps. I recommend keeping your passwords written down in a secure location which doesn’t exist on any electronic device – ie., on paper. I know it’s a bit old-fashioned, but if it’s not anywhere you can access digitally, it’s not anywhere a hacker can access it digitally, either.