Until a horrific sci-fi future actually comes around, for now the only place hackers cannot enter is your head. Wherever something is connected to the internet – be it a smart fridge, computer or car – hackers could be able to break in, steal data and wreak havoc. So, at first glance, the only secure place where all your precious information must be stored is your brain. Pretty logical, eh?
In theory, yes, but things end up slightly differently in real life however. It is possible to remember strong and complex passwords thanks to a number of various tricks. Still, the human memory capacity reaches its limit at a certain point, so remembering every one of your passwords is a feat that might take Superman levels of skill. There are three simple tricks to help you remember those complex passwords, though, unless of course you use a single password for all accounts, which is really not recommended.
Abundance of Passwords
It may sound like an easy task, but have you ever counted how many accounts you have? Just consider only the social media platforms you log into on a daily basis: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or whatever new fad is popular at the time.
Then there are email services such as Gmail or Yahoo, video streaming services such as Netflix, news sites such as the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, and we haven’t even mentioned online banking yet… there are literally tons of other internet-based services available, and a good percentage you’ll sign into irregularly over the course of a year. Oh, and surely you’ve forgotten all the mobile apps that are automatically logged into when you open them?
By now you may already know what makes a strong password and how to create a unique password using simple tricks. However, the hardest part is remembering them, and when dealing with a password such as “wA(3HxVFbvH5v6=”, the task can become really quite challenging. So what’s the catch? Well, here are those three simple tricks…
1. Favorite Book
If you like reading books, this will likely become your favorite method. Pick a book from the shelf and open it at a random page. Select a favorite paragraph and pick a word from within. That will be the basis of your password.
As an example, we used Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. We randomly opened it at page 57 and found the word “motorcycle”, which is the 24th word on the 18th line in the fifth paragraph. After adding some extra measures for security, the full password looks like this: 24&MotorCycle#5718.
2. Reverse Words
Using the same book and example as above, it is possible to easily remember your password even if you reverse the words and add some ‘salt’ to increase the level of security. The line that was selected was “borrowed a motorcycle one Sunday and headed for the hills”. For this purpose we selected only “motorcycle one Sunday” and reversed the words to create this “yadnusenoelcycrotom”.
Other punctuation and characters can be added, and it will be better to play with uppercase and lowercase styling to increase the strength of your password. After all this the password looked like this: “y@dnus#3n0elCycrotoM”. Using your favorite numbers will ease the process of recalling the password, but keep in mind that it will ultimately weaken your passwords if used too many times, as hackers will begin to recognize the pattern if they are targeting you specifically.
3. Use a Line from a Favorite Quote or Song
Known American cryptographer Bruce Schneier has an easy yet effective method to create and remember passwords: we all have favorite songs, poems, or quotes, so why wouldn’t we turn those into passwords? Yes, it is that easy: just take one line or sentence and use your own rule to create a password you will be able to recall at any time. For example: “I want to break free” (Queen) = 1W@tBr3aKfeR!
Have you counted how many passwords you have? If you have 10 or fewer, the probability of using the same password for different accounts is quite high, which only means you’re putting yourself at a greater risk. Passwords shouldn’t be easy to remember, because that means it is easy for hacking software to guess them.
This raises the need for unique, strong passwords, but our brains have limits. But do you really want to stuff your head full with just passwords? How about remembering only one extremely strong password? Password managers remove that burden and let users create one strong password – the master password that unlocks the secure vault where the rest of your passwords are stored – and frees your mind up to focus on more important things.
Best Password Managers of 2018