Creating Memorable, Safe Passwords (well — almost)

Passwords are a pain. Different sites have different requirements. Different sites have you change them. Password recovery is painful and slow. So the temptation is to use the same password on multiple sites — DON’T DO IT. Imagine the poor Yahoo users whose login and passwords were stolen. The bad guys can just set up scripts to automatically try logging into multiple bank accounts and eventually find success.

I use Password Tricks to allow me to remember them and to keep them different on each site. My tricks are not so complex that any amateur cryptographer could not figure them out but I am trying to foil machines — not real people who would need to do real work.

Here are 4 increasingly complex ways to generate unique memorable passwords. Each start with a unique string of characters, numbers and symbols (We will say password321$ for example purposes) — something I can remember then:

1 — append the name of the site on the end. EG — password321$yahoo or password321$RBC

2 — append the name of the site backwards. EG — password321$oohay or password321$CBR

3 — append the name of the site but on the keys above it on the keyboard. EG — password321$7qu00 or password321$%HF

4 — Same as 3 but add 17+the number of characters in the string on the end. EG password321$7qu0034 or password321$%HF32.

You get the idea. I call it “fun with passwords” or “fun with keyboards”. The variations can be many. But don’t use these exact ideas — use the concept to “invent” your own memorable safe passwords.