This guide shows you a way to create strong, yet memorable passwords. Strong passwords
- are at least 10 characters long (some recommend 12-14 characters)
- contain lower case and upper case letters
- contain digits and special characters
- are so memorable you don’t have to write them down to remember
Sounds impossible, but it’s easy if you start with a personal story you will never forget.
Tell a story
Let’s assume that you once lost your wallet in a freak accident involving a toilet. It is important the event is not traumatic, because you might be reminded of it every time you enter the password. Make some memorable sentence out of that event:
CPR does not make sense once the wallet has drowned, really.
Important: Do not use names, concrete dates or the age at which the event happened. Those are facts that are easily forgotten.
Some languages come with built-in capitalization. English does not, so let’s just capitalize every noun, for example:
CPR does not make Sense once the Wallet has drowned, really.
Put in the specials
We already have some interpunctuation, but we can enhance that by inserting and replacing some of it:
CPR does not! make Sense / once the Wallet has drowned; really.
Shrink it down
Just take the first letters of each word to generate something that already resembles a password:
This looks scary already, but we still neet the digits.
1337 it up
1337-speak is a way to replace letters with numbers that look roughly like the letters they are replacing:
- 0: O
- 1: I or l
- 2: Z
- 3: E (mirrored)
- 4: A oh H
- 5: S
- 6: G
- 7: T
- 8: B
- 9: P (mirrored)
Applied consistently, our final password looks like this:
Some sites store your password and e-mail address in plaintext, so a hacker just has to google your accounts on other sites and try to enter with the password he found. But you can use a slightly altered form. Just take the first letter of the site name and put it into a convenient position:
bq. Twitter: Cdn!m5/t07W4d;r.
This marginal change makes it a lot harder to hack your accounts.
Note it down
Never jot down your passwords! But feel free to write down a reminder, like “wallet” or, if you have to, the original sentence you came up with. After using the new pasword a couple of times, however, you won’t need the reminder any more. Get rid of the note as soon as it has become second nature to you.
Michael Klaus, CEO @ Schnipps