No password is infallible, but the stronger it is, the harder it is to crack. There’s a lot of talk about making your passwords “strong”, but what does that actually mean for you? How do you make a strong password or passcode?
You’ll see advice to add in special characters, upper- and lower-case letters, and plenty of numbers. But something indecipherable for cybercriminals can often mean it’s similarly difficult for you to remember too.
Here are a few ways you can create a strong password or passcode that you can actually remember.
1. Use Nursery Rhymes
One preferred method of coming up with complex passwords—even those that require 15 character decryption keys—is the nursery rhyme technique.
Choose one of your favorite nursery rhymes, capitalize the first letter of each sentence, replace certain letters with numbers, and follow that up with some form of punctuation or special character at the end. If your favorite rhyme is quite long, feel free to crop it down a bit.
Let’s take Jack and Jill for example. You already know how its goes:
“Jack and Jill/ Went up the hill/ To fetch a pail of water/ Jack fell down/ And broke his crown/ And Jill came tumbling after.”
Reduce this to the first letter in each word. Keep the capital letters at the start of each line. Then replace the “J”s with “7”s. In other instances, you could swap “e”s to “3”s or “L”s to “1”s, etc.
And let’s finish it with an exclamation mark.
This then turns into:
That’s a 26-character password that includes numbers, letters, uppercase, lowercase, and a one special character. All you have to do is recite the nursery rhyme when you’re typing in your password!
2. Use Your Favorite Quote From a Movie
A technique similar to that above uses famous movie quotes to come up with the password rather than nursery rhymes. Using a favorite movie line will make this approach much more secure.
You may also consider replacing characters with numbers that are not so easy to guess.
For example, lots of people would think to replace an “E” with a “3”, but if you choose a different number, it’s harder to guess. Replace every “E” with a 6 instead, which is easy to remember because a lowercase “e” looks like an elongated, backwards “6”.
And if you’ve two consecutive letters that are the same, capitalize whichever works best.
Let’s use T’Challa’s “In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers” quote from Black Panther (2018). That would become:
This concept is Cryptography 101, but it’s highly unlikely anyone could guess it, even if someone found out what your favorite film is. Cybercriminals probably aren’t going to put in the effort of getting to know you that well!
3. Use Industry Lingo
One alternative of this is using very specialized industry lingo to come up with the passcode. Industry-specific jargon is much harder to guess than nursery rhymes.
For example, if you’re an engineer, your phrase might be:
“The timing belt had slipped, so it wasn’t at 10 degrees from top-dead-center (TDC).”
Let’s keep the number and the acronym, but swap the second “S” for “$”. That then becomes:
That’s much harder to guess because of how obscure it is.
4. Use Personal Dates (but Not Birthdays)
An alternative technique to using sentences is using mostly numbers. Of course, random numbers aren’t exactly simple to remember either. But you could always use important family dates.
Now, the first thing many people think is to use birthdays. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy for savvy hackers to discover your date of birth, or even those of your family and friends, through phishing and data breaches.
You need something a little more advanced than that. A good approach is to use dates of events only you would remember as important to you, but no one else would really know about. The day that you first took a roller coaster ride. The day that you first kissed the love of your life. The date of your first vacation abroad.
No strong passwords are just numbers, however, so you’ll need to swap some out with letters and special characters. It’s the reverse of swapping an “E” for a “3”!
Take the three dates that you are sure to remember, and line them all up in a row. Replace the slashes with a lower-case L, a space between dates with an underscore (like “_”), and end with a special character like “#”. Such a password would look something like this:
This password is 27 characters, so can only be used in systems that can handle very long passwords. If allowed, it’s one of the most secure passwords you can remember.
5. Use a Keyboard Pattern
Here’s a fun password approach that uses the same technique as the smartphone login pattern of old. In this case, what you’re going to use is your keyboard.
Draw some kind of recognizable pattern on your keyboard, and then use the letters and numbers as the password.
For example, let’s say you create a pattern on your keyboard as shown below.
In this instance only, think of it as a reverse “QWERTY” so start at “P”. At the start of each new line, you could capitalize that letter.
If it helps, you might even draw recognizable images or letters on top of the keyboard. In the case above, the password ends up as follows:
Using this approach, you can alter the complexity of the pattern to lengthen the password.
A hacker could run an algorithm that would brute-force attack using keyboard connections, but it’s incredibly unlikely anyone could recreate your combination—especially if you add in something else like a date.
6. Use a Password Manager
The final technique to use if you’re creating a password that you need to remember is… by not exactly remembering it.
If you use a password manager, you only need to remember one code: the master password. Think of a password manager as a digital vault which keeps all your login credentials secure. You just need the correct entry code to access the vault.
So try one of the above methods to create a master password, then rely on it to store the rest. This also means you can come up with really niche decryption keys that no one else will ever think of—because you won’t need to remember it either.
The important thing is not using the same password for numerous accounts: a password manager simplifies that.
Some of the best manager services also create passwords for you, so you don’t even have the hassle of coming up with your own!
That’s How to Create a Strong, Memorable Password
Ultimately, the password that you go with should be the one that works best for your own individual situation.
You can use any of the techniques above, or come up with one of your own, but the idea is to develop a password that is so unusual, with such a variety of characters, that hacking that password becomes a nearly impossible chore.
Author: Philip Bates
Source: Philip Bates.” How to Create an Unbreakable Password You Won’t Forget: 6 Tips”. Retrieved From https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-tips-for-creating-an-unbreakable-password-that-you-can-remember/
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