We’ve all heard the basic rules of creating passwords.  Make them strong, and memorable, without writing them down anywhere near your computer.  That’s easier said than done.  Here are some tips to help you create strong passwords you’ll remember.

Guidelines to Create Strong Passwords

  • Use at least 8 characters, including both upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols such as !, ?, $, &, *.
  • Avoid using a single word or a common phrase as your password.  “Dictionary words” are easily hacked.
  • Stay away from passwords that are easily identified with you, such as names of pets or family members.
  • Don’t use obvious substitutions, like changing the letter “o” to the numeral “0” in a common word.

So how do you follow the rules and still create passwords you’ll remember?  Here are three suggestions.

Use a Phrase and Incorporate Shortcut Codes or Acronyms

These examples let you use phrases that either mean something to you, or you associate with a type of website.  For example, the ’all for one and one for all’ may be the password for a social networking site where it’s all about sharing.  It could be phrase about money for a banking site, and so on.

  • 2BorNot2B_ThatIsThe? (To be or not to be, that is the question - from Shakespeare)
  • 4Score&7yrsAgo (Four score and seven years ago - from the Gettysburg Address)
  • John3:16=4G (Scriptural reference)
  • 14A&A41dumaS (one for all and all for 1 - from The Three Musketeers, by Dumas)

Use Passwords with Common Elements but Customized to Specific Sites

These examples tell a story using a consistent style so if you know how you write the first sections, and you’re on the login page for a site you’ll know what to add.

  • ABT2_uz_AMZ! (About to use Amazon)
  • ABT2_uz_BoA! (About to use Bank of America)
  • Pwrd4Acct-$$ (Password for account at bank)
  • Pwrd4Acct-Fb (Password for account at Facebook)

Reverse Words

Reversing words is an obvious yet effective way to create secure passwords.  Even if you love black cats, the phrase “Black Cat” would be a weak password.  By reversing this phrase to taCkcalB or kcalBtaC, you get something that looks pretty much random, and is a much better fit for a base password.  Some symbols and numbers could make it even more secure.

You can also use the reverse method on the service name.  If you’re creating a password for eBay, try appending yaBe instead.

 Example for full password: kcalB#$taC285OUM

Storing Your Passwords  

Even with these tips, you may find it challenging to remember ALL these passwords.  Our best advice is to use a password manager, such as RoboForm, LastPass or LogMeOnce, to help you securely store and easily retrieve passwords.  These inexpensive tools can make your life easier.

If you need help with your business IT, contact CRU Solutions