I recently had a few friends that had their email accounts hacked. I provided them with a few tips for creating unique, easy-to-remember, and secure passwords. Afterwards, I thought it would be a good idea to share those tips with the rest of you.
Use an Easy to Remember Phrase
Most passwords are hacked using simple dictionary attacks. This is why many systems require you to use symbols, mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, etc. It helps to prevent your password from falling victim to a simple dictionary attack.
Another (and I think better) way to avoid using words, but maintaining the ease of remembering words, is to use the first letter of every word in a phrase. For example, jbnjbqjjotcs might make a good password. How could you possibly remember such a cryptic password? Easy: Jack Be Nimble Jack Be Quick Jack Jump Over The Candle Stick.
Create Unique Passwords
You also never want to use the same password for multiple systems. You should always try to create a (relatively) unique password for each site you log into. But doesn’t this go against making passwords easy to remember?
Well, you could try unique phrases for each website you log into, but that’s not much better than using different words for different sites and forgetting which ones you used where. Here’s a tip for creating unique passwords for different systems, but still being able to remember your passwords: Use the same phrase, but prepend or append it with the first letter or an abbreviation of the site you’re logging into.
Continuing with our nursery rhyme example, you could use jbnjbqjjotcsfb as your Facebook password, jbnjbqjjotcsgm as your Gmail password, and jbnjbqjjotcst as your Twitter password.
Use Capitals, Symbols and Numbers
You don’t have use capitals, punctuation, and numbers all at the same time, although it certainly doesn’t hurt to do so and some systems even require it. You just have to be sure that whatever combination you use, that you’ll remember it.
With our nursery rhyme password, for our Facebook account, we might try something like: Jbn,Jbq,JjotcsFb13
The end of each line in the nursery rhyme provides a logical place to put a comma. Being pronouns, Jack and Facebook are logical to capitalize. Finally, we added the 13 to the end, because that’s your lucky number. Use easy to remember symbols and punctuation in logical positions within your phrase, to make it easy to remember.