Jun 19, 2014

How to create strong passwords I can actually remember?

I’ve always tried to keep my passwords reasonably strong but still something I could remember when I didn’t have access to a password manager. With all of the “reset your password immediately” warnings lately due to data breaches, that is becoming harder and harder for me. Does anyone have tips for creating passwords that are reasonably strong that can still be remembered?

How To Create and Remember Strong Passwords

"One of the best ways to protect your online security is to have strong passwords that you change periodically. But that’s easier said than done. Coming up with hard-to-guess passwords is hard enough, but it’s even harder to have separate passwords for different sites and to remember new ones after you change them.

One way to create a password that’s hard to guess but easy to remember is to make up a phrase. You could type in the entire phrase (some sites let you use spaces, others don’t) or you can use the initials of each word in the phrase, for instance, “IgfLESi#85″ for “I graduated from Lincoln Elementary School in ’85″ with a # symbol to add more security. An even better one would be “Mn1bfihswE&S” for “My number 1 best friends in high school were Eric and Steve.” You get the idea–upper case numbers, letters, and symbols that are seemingly meaningless to everyone but you. Microsoft has an excellent primer on passwords and a password strength checker."

I use keepass (and yes, there is an android version) for my pw management. One tip I have: if a site requires a "security" question, generate the answer with keepass and store it in the notes section of that entry. Security questions are pretty stinking insecure.


There are two methods I use that might be of help to you. The first one is that I create a pattern on the keyboard. This is particularly effective for me, as a visual learner. For example, I might use “the mountain and the valley” - zse4rfvbnm. Look at your keyboard and follow the letters and you can see why I called it that. FYI, I don’t actually use that one, but just made it up to give a simple example. 


The second method, and one used by many people, is to pick a line from a song, movie, whatever and use the first letter of each word. Pick a letter or two that you can remember to replace with a number (example “L” = “1” or “B” = “8”).

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