Creating a strong password you’ll remember

Passwords. Everybody needs them, but only few of us like them. A password will guard your online belongings when you’re out so nobody will come in to burn your frying pans, empty the fridge, swim in your pool, and invite all their friends over to the party they’re planning in your garden. But having to make one up and remember it is as much fun as remembering to lock your front door.

How do you create a strong password – and remember it?

Don't lose sleep over your password Image: HikingArtist.com

Don’t lose sleep over your password
Image: HikingArtist.com

While I’m hoping everybody got themselves a decent password after hacks into LinkedIn and Twitter a while ago, you may not have mustered the courage to come up with a really strong password.

Or you did, and ended up forgetting your brand new password within days.

Wouldn’t life be much easier if we were able to memorize any nonsensical, unpronouncable, completely random password – and to remember which password went with which account?

4 easy steps to a strong password

The best passwords are never, ever, existing words. This is what you can do (well, it’s what I’ve done for several accounts so far).

  1. Conjure up an image and a feeling that suits your perception of what you do with your blog, email, or social media account.
  2. Write down a sentence that expresses this image and feeling. Oh, and it’s quite possible that any language is more secure than English. But don’t worry – you can make it less English later on.
  3. Edit your sentence. Play around with it. Change small caps to large caps and vice versa. Replace parts of words with numbers and symbols. If your sentence is in English, try to get rid of at least one y, c, or t – or any other letter you feel is very typical for English sentences.
  4. Jot down every first letter of every word in your sentence, plus any number or symbol.

Example of a password

Let’s say you start out with this sentence. Make it shorter than mine – and whatever you do, don’t copy this one or risk having even casual hackers laugh at you. They read blogs. You have been warned 😉

If you so much as point a finger at my blog I’ll make you sorry you were ever born!

This sentence could turn into something like this:

If U so much as > 1 finger @ my blog i’ll Make 7 sorry you were 3v3r ! born

Shorten it to:

IUsma>1f@mbiM7syw33!b

Your new password should be at least 13 to 18 or even more characters long. Long is good, but some accounts limit the number of characters you use – I only found out once I started using this method for coming up with passwords 🙂

What not to do with your password

Having a great password won’t help you if you’re careless with it.

  1. Don’t have Chrome or any other browser remember your password for you. Not just for online security – you won’t remember your password so you’ll have to keep it somewhere, online or off, indefinitely.
  2. Don’t keep your password with your computer (whatever device).
  3. Don’t share your password with anyone. Not your friends, not your family members (not even if you like them… but only, possibly, if you trust them)
  4. Don’t email your password to yourself (tough one I know)
  5. Don’t keep the name of your account with your password.
  6. Don’t … there’s another don’t. Neighbors’ chatter just distracted me from my blog. If you happen to know what’s missing, please remind me in a comment.

Instead, do this with your password

  • Practice. Use your password every day for a week. Using your password will show you if there are any elements in it that are just impossible to remember. Chuck those out or replace them. Then use your improved password. Check if you still remember it after a week.
  • Change your password every once in a while – at the very least whenever you feel it may have been discovered by anyone.
  • Realize you won’t keep out hackers who are targeting you specifically.

Final tip for bloggers

If your blog is part of your business – if it is helping you earn your living, invest in a self-hosted blog with a host that delivers top-notch customer service 24/7 and get a plug-in that limits the number of attempted log-ons. And that’ll let you know if anyone has repeatedly tried to access your account. If burglars are at your door, you’ll want to know about it. Right?

For more summer tasks for your blog see this post. What other essential password or general security tips do you have?

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2 thoughts on “Creating a strong password you’ll remember

  1. Excellent advice! My sister’s email address is the first letter of each word of a sentence that has meaning to her – she did it to avoid spam.

    I forget my password… and yes lose sleep over it… too often. Great post.

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