How to make strong passwords you can remember

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From credit card numbers to sensitive bank information, personal emails and photos of grandchildren, these days we store a lot of sensitive information online.

As we navigate through the web we pick up more and more accounts and passwords, and with that comes the challenge of creating strong passwords while still being able to remember them.

Using different passwords for all your various online accounts is crucial; it’s not unusual for a hacker to gain access to a few personal details – for example your birthday, address, or email password – to then break into something much more sensitive like your online banking.

While it might be important, it’s also not always practical – many people struggle to keep track of different passwords feel uncomfortable about storing them all in one file on their computers or written down and stored in their home office.

If you’re worried about your Internet security, here are a few easy tips to make stronger passwords – that you can actually remember.

Forget the obvious

For a password to work it needs to be something that wouldn’t easily be guessed. Family members, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers and pet names are all obvious enough that they could be figured out by a stranger with just a handful of details about your life.   

Keep to the code

If you struggle to keep track of all your different passwords, try creating a code; start with a password base that includes a combination of capital cases and numbers – for example TheB3atles – and then adding a simple identifier at the end of each to help you vary it from account to account. For example, your password for Facebook could be TheB3atlesFB1, while for your LinkedIn account you could use TheB3eatlesLI2, and so on.

Turn the letters into numbers

Using a combination of letters, numbers, capital cases and even symbols make it much more difficult to crack a password, but in turn also make it more difficult to remember. To help incorporate numbers into your new password use them to substitute letters. For example you can substitute 3 for E, 1 for I, 13 for B, or even adopt your own code. Remember if you do decide to do this system that it’s a popular method, so add additional characters to your combination that will be difficult to guess.

Make it long

A password with more than 12 characters is significantly harder to crack so try and make yours as long as possible. Instead of one word, try a phrase inspired by something special in your life or a favourite film or movie. For example, if you were a fan of Mark Twain, you might choose a password by combining his famous characters, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin to create “Huckl3b3rrySayw3rFinnT0m”.

Check your strength

If you’re nervous about your password strength or want to be certain it would be difficult to guess, there are websites where you can use to check. Sites like Password Meter and Microsoft’s Safety & Security Centre both make it easy to type in your password and check the strength instantly without having to sign in or give any other information.

What tricks do you use to remember your passwords? 

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Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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3rd Feb 2015
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There are a number of sites which will generate and securely store a random password of whatever length and complexity you need for each individual site you require. These are encrypted and if required (e.g. for sensitive banking sites) can be protected by one master password which is the only one you will ever need to remember. I have been using Roboform for a number of years, but there are a number of similar services available.

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