How many times a day do you enter a username and password? With your most valuable information protected by them, you're probably tired of hearing about the importance of strong passwords.
Most people reuse the same few passwords since anything else is just too hard to remember. And that’s exactly the kind of thinking a hacker relies on to breach your accounts.
When it comes to creating a secure password, it needs to be too complex for hackers to crack, but you still have to remember it. Here are a few tricks to help you create strong but memorable passwords.
Turn vowels into numbers.
While this isn't groundbreaking news, replacing an O with a 0 or an I with a 1, adds that extra little bit of security to your password. In a brute force attack, a cybercriminal tries your account against millions of password combinations taken from a jumble of dictionary words, numbers, and special characters. So the more gibberish-like your assortment is, the harder it'll be to crack.
Or, remove the vowels altogether.
The more cunning amongst you may enjoy removing vowels altogether. Let's say your password is an entirely made-up word; Giganthosauras, for instance. Removing the vowels would make it Ggnthsrs. Add numbers and special characters, and you've given hackers a pretty fierce contender.
The keyboard trick.
This is a good one for memory. First, create a password made of numbers; 24589, for example. Now as well as typing the numbers, use the letters directly beneath them – so you end up with 2wsx4rfv5tgb8ik9ol. For extra suave, you could even replace some of the letters for numbers and vice versa.
Don't follow the crowd.
The obvious choice would be your birthday, your cat's birthday, or your SSN – it's easy to remember, and hey? Nobody's going to know your cat's birthday or bother to guess your SSN, right? Wrong. When a hacker's only job is to find scraps of information about you to steal your data or money, don't underestimate their determination.
If you need a memorable number, use ones that are twice removed from you. A significant date in the story of your favorite novel, or the postcode of the hometown of your favorite musician – you get the picture.
Mix a number and word together.
Fuel for the frustrated poet in you, this trick makes your password easy to remember – once you get used to typing without spaces.
Think of a favorite line from a poem or a song or film. You could use a saying or idiom like “Your guess is as good as mine”. Next, think of a memorable number. It could be the year of a famous battle or the coordinates for a famous landmark, like the Taj Mahal, which is 271751 and 780421. Combine both intermittently to create y2O7u1R7g5U1e7S8s0I4s2A1sGoOdAsMiNe. You can also alternate between small and capital letters like we've shown above, to make it even more cryptic.
Use the account as a base.
Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Spotify, Gmail, the list of passwords to remember is endless, especially since you should have a separate password for each. You could always add FB or IG onto the end of the password, so: GiGaNtHoSaUrAs becomes GiGaNtHoSaUrAs_FB. Again, try to combine or replace letters with numbers and special characters for added complexity, giving you something along the lines of [email protected]%.
Use a password manager.
With all due respect to Chrome and Firefox, storing your passwords in your browser isn't the wisest of decisions. Sure, it's convenient not having to type in your password every time, but both Chrome and Firefox have their fair share of vulnerabilities. Chrome allows users to view saved logins without requiring a user password (unless you're using Windows10 or MacOS), and Firefox gives any user access to saved logins regardless of platform and without authentication.
Most browsers hide password fields with asterisks to protect them from prying eyes. But if someone takes control of your computer, they can circumvent this measure on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox by using the Inspect Element window. By editing the code of the page, they can reveal a hidden password in about five steps – and unlock any other accounts where you used it.
Password managers like NordPass use powerful XChaCha20 encryption algorithms alongside zero-knowledge policy to create your very own password vault – and keep hackers out. NordPass encrypts your passwords before they leave your device, and since we give users sole access to their decryption key, only you can decrypt, view, and access your passwords. Let NordPass generate and remember all your passwords, autofill them, and store them with the tightest security available.