Five Methods: Using Phrases, Using Codes, Doubling It, The Bridge Shuffle, Upside-Down and Backwards
Coming up with a password that is both safe and memorable gets harder and harder the more of them we have to memorize. Combining words, phrases, numbers, and coding them with simple substitutions will ensure that your personal information is safe. It is important to be able to come up with passwords that are personal enough to remember but varied and complex enough to be secure, so learning how to create appropriate passwords is a crucial skill that you will undoubtedly use often.
Method 1 of 5: Using Phrases
Make a compound word. A smart way to develop an easy-to-remember password is to combine three small words of significance to you, and make a single password. For example, you can use “mydogspot” or “jimswifejane.”
- It adds more security to capitalize the first letters of the different words: “ballzonecart” becomes “BallZoneCart”. Also, sheer length is superior to a shorter but random mix of numbers, letters and symbols.
Connect the first letters of a sentence. Develop a password using the first letters of a sentence or phrase that means something to you – like your national anthem or a slogan you have seen somewhere. “Don’t shop for it, Argos it” would become “DsfiAi.”
Choose two words and combine their letters. Choose one letter of the first word and one letter of the second word, and repeating this until you get to the last letter of each word. An example could be:
- Say your post important possessions are house & plane
- Password: hpoluasnee
Come up with a pass phrase. Length can be a huge advantage to memorization. If your typing is fairly accurate, consider large phrases from a book, speech or movie, such as:
- “It was a dark and stormy night!”
- “My fellow Americans!”
- “Houston, we have a problem.”
- The length can provide security even if special symbols are not used. This can help with sites that prevent the use of symbols.
- Make good use of punctuation and capitalization to make a secure pass phrase that complies with common password rules.
Method 2 of 5: Using Codes
Turn letters into numbers. First think of a phrase, and type that phrase/name using the numbers located on the telephone number pad. The letters have now turned into numbers. Adding a random letter or symbol as well will increase the security of this password.
- Substituting numbers for letters is called Leetspeak. This technique is programmed into most password cracking tools, making it slightly less secure. Remember to make this a component of a larger password or compound pass-phrase.
Find your phone number or zip code on the keyboard. Look at the letters directly beneath it. Let’s say you chose 1. The numbers directly beneath the 1 key are Q, A, and Z. Now, when you create your password, press the first number that you chose, then press all of the letter keys that are directly beneath it. Do this with all of your numbers. Now all you have to remember are the numbers. So for 39503, your password is 3edc9ol5tgb0p3edc.
- If you want a more difficult password, try capitalizing the first letter of the row, making one of the numbers a symbol, or something else along those lines.
Take a word or phrase and remove the vowels from it. For example, “eat the cheeseburger” becomes “tthchsbrgr”.
- Replace vowels with significant numbers. Use Leetspeak as your guide. For instance, “a” becomes “4” and “e” becomes “3”. Use the numbers directly above the vowels in the row on the keyboard.
Shift your fingers one key out of your normal typing position. If your password doesn’t use the Q, A, or Z, you can hit the key to the left of your password. Or to the right if you don’t use the P, L, or M. “Speedracer” goes to both sides, but “wikiHow” can become “qujugiq” or “eolojpe”. You could also shift up and to the right or left. “wikiHow” becomes “28i8y92” or “39o9u03”.
Use the current year and first three letters of the current month. Then add three letters from, say, your name. In this case, your password might read 2013mayBob. Next month, change it to 2013junBob. It’s impossible to have the same password twice or to forget it.
Combine a date component inside a larger password. This helps when the password needs to change from time to time. But, remember to never use only a date – date-only passwords are at higher risk to being cracked than other choices.
Choose a favorite passage out of a book and use a word from the passage.For example, if your favorite book is “The Eye of the World”, by Robert Jordan, and your favorite passage is the second paragraph on page 168, use a word from that passage. You can use the word Draghkar. So you would put 2Draghkar168. 2 is the paragraph number and 168 is the page number.
Method 3 of 5: Doubling It
Create your password using one of the above methods. Find a password that you like that incorporates either phrases or codes.
Double the password without using a space. Just write the password twice without using a space and you’ll be all done. Doubling the password will increase its strength, and it won’t be any harder to remember than the original password. All you have to remember is that you doubled it!
Consider doubling an easier password. Length can help the strength of a password, so if you want to use the doubling method, you may be able to choose a slightly easier word and then double it. You’ll have less to remember and your password will still be strong!
Method 4 of 5: The Bridge Shuffle
Pick a memorable word or name as well as a number that is the same length as the word.
Reverse either the number or the word and combine them by alternating letters and numbers into one password. This is similar to doing a bridge shuffling with cards.
- For example, say your word is kitty and your number is your ZIP code, 56789. Just start with the letters and reverse the number, placing them alternately. Thus, k9i8t7t6y5.
- Alternatively, you can make the first letter a capital for greater security.
- You don’t really need to have the letters and numbers the same length; you can just have the letters or numbers in sequence at the end. For example, a shorter number (like your area code or birth year) might look like this, K8i1t8ty or a shorter word like your name “Bob” would look like B9o8b765.
Method 5 of 5: Upside-Down and Backwards
Use the L33t code to spell your name or a memorable word upside-down (and backwards). Use both letters and numbers to achieve your goal. If you can’t find a number that fits a letter sufficiently, then use an actual letter but do it as what it looks like upside-down. This ensures that you are using both letters and numbers for increased security. This is more dependent on what you determine a letter’s closest equivalent to a number might be.
- For example, say your name is Brown, your password might look like UM0J8 (look at it upside-down). Smith might look like, HL!W5. Using punctuation such as an exclamation mark as an i also helps to add even further security.
- The disadvantage to this method is that it can produce a combination of letters and numbers that could be difficult to remember. However, if you take a little time to memorize it, you can reproduce it quickly and reinforce it in your mind. The advantages are enormous since it will have a very high security and make code breaking very difficult, if not impossible. This is ideal for a high security password.
- If you say the letters or numbers to yourself as you type them you will begin to get a rhythm; this will help you to memorize it.
- You might combine several of these methods and still come up with a truly memorable yet very strong pass phrase.
- When coming up with a mnemonic sentence, try and make the sentence funny or relevant to yourself. That way you will find it easier to remember the sentence and the password.
- The most secure passwords contain lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Make a standard of holding down shift for the first four characters, or characters three through seven, or whatever you like. You won’t have to stop and remember where you inserted that pesky exclamation point or whether you replaced the ‘s’ with ‘5’ or ‘$’ this time.
- Recycle numbers you know but don’t use and aren’t connected to your current life along with a letter cue. Such as your first phone number with a city code. Ex:NYC2023334444.
- Do not use any number that is a matter of record, such as phone, address, and Social Security numbers.
- Do not use the same password for several logins, especially if they involve sensitive financial or other personal information. When registering on websites that ask for your email address, never use the same password as you do for your email account.