How To Choose a Good Password You Will Remember

A good password is a strong password: is a password which is long, contains numbers, letters, mixed case and no real words or guessable information—best not use your date of birth, cat’s name, phone number etc. A strong password is also long—at least ten characters long.

This of course makes it hard to remember! What we need is something that you can easily remember, and is still strong. Here’s how…

1) Choose A Memorable Phrase – a really easy way is to choose a phrase you will remember word for word (such as a line from a poem or a song). Then take the first letter from each word. So “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away” becomes “Yamtssfa”. This is the first step.

But choose something obscure, as obscure as possible, like the poem you wrote for your beloved, which he or she loved but couldn’t possibly share on facebook. And definitely don’t use the example I gave here!

2) Choose A Memorable Number – now you have a starting point you can combine it with a number you’ll remember. Again choose something hard to guess—not too personal (so not your birth year, or your phone number). How about the last four digits of another phone number you know well, perhaps your mum. Suppose this gives you “4385”. Now insert this number after the first character of “Yamtssfa” and we have “Y4385amtssfa”. Now we’re cooking!

3) Mix Upper And Lower Case – to add a final strengthening step let’s mix the case a bit more. So let’s say you decide to capitalise only vowels, now we have “y4385AmtssfA”.

This password will be impossible for someone to guess without knowing how you arrived at it, and while you might well forget it, particularly at first, you can always work it out. Just make sure you chose information you will remember, and can remember what you did with it to create the password.

4) Don’t Write Your Password Down – remembering how to re-create your password might seem hard, but it will be easier than it sounds provided you don’t write the password down. This is because having to go through this process a few times while you get used to the password will embed those starting points in your memory, along with the way to re-generate your password.

Password Security

No password is 100% secure, but a strong password is one that cannot be guessed. A password like “y4385AmtssfA” would have to be discovered through a security breach in another part of the system.

A note of caution: don’t re-use your password because if there is a security breach on one service it could quickly mean that your other accounts are also breached. For advice on how to avoid re-using passwords with the minimum of effort see: How To Not Re-Use Your Password

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