8 Methods for Creating Strong Passwords You Can Remember

Source: lifehacker.com
Source: lifehacker.com

Security experts suggest using a unique password on each website, to use longer passwords (12 characters or greater), to change them frequently (at least every 90 days), and to make them a random string, such as Jf[:ciil)Se_^p“, plus don’t use words from the dictionary, your kids’ names, your home phone number, etc. I mentioned that I use LastPass, a password manager that can generate passwords and stores them where no one but you can get at them.

Not everyone likes to use a password manager, and many people want to be able to remember the password, practically impossible with strings of random characters. If you happen to be one of those people, try Googling “generate strong passwords you can remember” and see what you come up with. One of the pages is this one from Lifehacker, which gives four such methods:

  • Take a sentence and turn it into a password. For example, “The Angel of the LORD declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit,” the first line of the Angelus, a once-popular Catholic prayer. This becomes “TAvtLdun2M&scbytHS”. I entered this into a password strength checker, and it scored 100%. The problem is that you need to come up with a different sentence for each website.
  • Use a pass phrase. There are some websites that allow you to enter a full sentence or a number of unrelated words as your password. So I could use the sentence above as my password, or maybe a number of unrelated words such as “balloon Homer White Sox Churchill”. If you need to include numbers and special characters and not include spaces, it could be “ball00nH0m3rWh1t3S0xChvrc8i!!”.
  • Use the PAO system to build stories. Here you pick a place, a person, and an object and generate a story. You could use Beatles’ songs, such as “I Am The Walrus” or “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” that have a lot of nonsense lines, like “semolina pilchards climbing up the Eiffel Tower” or “Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, towering over your head”. You can take small pieces of the sentences and combine them, like “inapilaneflo” or something like that.
  • Another thought was to generate a bunch of random passwords and find a couple that you can find some phonetic structure to. The password “BragUtheV5” might suggest “brag you the V5”.

I found some of these to be useful, especially pass phrases and turning sentences into passwords. Here are a few others.

  • The Guerilla Mail website has a generator that takes a passphrase and a domain name and builds a password. Say my passphrase is “You must sink the Bismarck!” Giving it yahoo.com yields the password 1Z%JtNaodNaNzmAjCuIxArgZ/Vj; google.com gives us 2/ACp!0HU5″M}w9{US*:yk7:Yx9. When you want to change passwords, pick a different phrase. If you don’t remember the password, and don’t use a password manager, you can go back to the site and regenerate it.
  • You could create one password from a passphrase and add a suffix to differentiate each of them. Using the password TAvtLdun2M&scbytHS, TAvtLdun2M&scbytHS:yhoo would be the Yahoo! password, TAvtLdun2M&scbytHS:goog would be the Google password, etc.
  • Another technique is to pick a word and surround it with numbers and characters, e.g. 11WhiteSox11, 22WhiteSox22, etc. Not perfect, but you could vary the numbers. Mary uses one of our historical addresses and wraps it around one of the cats’ names.
  • Pick a word, and for each letter, use the key left or right, up or down. The word “batteries” would then become “nsyyrtord” if choosing the key to the right, “gq553483w” if using the key above, etc.

As I said, Googling “generate strong passwords you can remember” and try some of those techniques. Have fun!