We live in a busy technological age with loads of online accounts for everything from our banking to our shopping. Each has its own password, so working out how to remember passwords for all of them is a challenge…
Fortunately, I’m here to help!
Think about this for a second:
You probably have around 5 to 10 online accounts as a minimum, including your e-mail and your online banking. Those two alone hold the keys to a huge part of your life.
If someone were to gain access to your e-mail account, then they could use the ‘Forgot Password’ feature on a lot of sites to gain access to other online accounts.
The problem is that the conventional wisdom around passwords has actually lead us to create passwords that are hard to remember. Worse still, they’re much less secure than they could be.
If you came here questioning how to remember passwords easily, then you’re asking the wrong question…
The correct question, in my opinion, is not ‘How do I remember my password?’ but instead ‘How do I create secure and memorable passwords?’
How to Remember Passwords
Thanks to Neil Asher and his excellent blog post How to Create a Strong Password Online, the answer is easier than you might think.
Better still, it employs a memory technique that we’ve looked at here on this blog.
I’m going to briefly mention the technique that Neil shared on his blog, then go one step further with it.
A Strong Method for Creating Passwords
In this post, Neil mentions a technique he learned whereby you create a memorable (read: silly, outrageous, sexy) phrase and then take the first letters of the phrase to form your password.
This is a mnemonic technique where you use an acronym to remember something.
The result might look like this:
9 times out of 10, Karl Pilkington’s head is the roundest thing in the room.
Password = 9too10KPhitrtitr
This is a solid technique and produces a strong password, but actually, not strong enough.
Neil suggests that you should instead, use the whole phrase as the password, thus taking a computer much, much longer to be able to decode it.
A Memory Power Method for Creating Passwords
I like Neil’s method and statistically, the following method probably isn’t stronger than Neil’s as the passwords it creates aren’t as long.
In my opinion, using a phrase can still be dangerous, particularly shorter phrases like ‘This is brilliant’. The reason is that they have a logic to them.
Once a hacker finds out the ‘This is’ part, it’s only a short stretch to start trying words that fit that logically fit that sentence.
Instead, why not come up with 4 random words, numbers and names:
- The number of cousins you have (in my case, 10)
- Russell Brand
Then use the Journey Method to remember them in order.
See a journey around your house or apartment with 4 stops on it. Associate each item on the list above with a place in your home.
The result would be something like this:
- Start in the bedroom where there’s a radio-controlled helicopter doing stunts.
- Go into the bathroom where there’s a dolphin the bath.
- Head to the living room where all your cousins are crammed onto the sofa.
- Finally move into the kitchen where Russell Brand is updating his social networks.
Run that journey in your mind every time you go to log in. You might want to add the name of the site you’re logging into at the end of the password so that you can differentiate between sites.
The password would look like this:
So, there you have it, a way to create and remember totally random passwords.
Thanks to Neil and his RoarLocal blog for providing the inspiration.
What do you think? What method do you use? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Category: Memorization Techniques