How to Make a Strong, Memorable Password

First Published: The Guysborough Journal, Vol . 24, No. 11, March 18, 2015
“Locks only keep out honest people.” You’ve probably heard that before. It seems like good logic, yet it isn’t quite complete. Do you know what’s missing from that little saying? They also keep out lazy criminals, and most criminals are lazy. The same thing applies to the passwords that you use.

Locks only keep out honest people. They also keep out lazy criminals, and most criminals are lazy.

Think about this. This is going to get read by about a thousand people. Want to bet a donut that I can tell you the password for at least one of those people? 123456789. At least one person out there is going to have that password, or a shorter version of it. One of you is using qwerty. One of you is using a phone number.

Passwords, Passwords

Passwords, Passwords

Double-or-nothing that one of you use the same password for your e-mail, Facebook, computer, WiFi…whatever you use a password for. Isn’t it creepy that I know that? Not really. It’s human nature. People like to use one key for all their locks. It makes life easier. Yet, if you think about it, you’ll see that it also makes life easier for the bad guys’ too.

“But Guy, I can’t remember a bunch of passwords!” Neither can I. What if I told you that you could have an infinite number of passwords and you could remember ALL of them? Try using an algorithm.

So, what’s an algorithm? Algorithm is just a geeky word for recipe. Create a recipe for your passwords. Let’s say your uncle’s name is ‘Alfred’. Not the most popular name, but still easy for bad guys to guess. Let’s add your dog’s name, ‘Trigger’, too. AlfredTrigger is still just two words in a dictionary, still making it easy to guess. Now add just the first 3 letters of each – AlfTri. Now you’ve got a password that isn’t in a dictionary. But you can’t use this for everything – that’s only a bit better than what most people do now. Take the first and last letter of the website you’re using and put that at either end. So, for facebook, your password would be fAlfTrik. For your iPad, it would be iAlfTrid. Different enough to be different, but similar enough to remember, especially if you remember your recipe or algorithm. (add. Many sites require a password that is at least 8 characters long. This will satisfy that.)

Now make your own recipe! This method isn’t foolproof, but it will keep out honest people, and lazy crooks, and that’s pretty good.

Image Credit: Passwords, Passwords, via Pixabay.

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