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How to Create a Secure Password That You’ll Always Remember

How to Create a Secure Password That You’ll Always Remember

It seems like we hear of a new hack every day that puts our sensitive information at risk. Do you have a secure password up to the task of preventing hacks into your sensitive data?

What is your password style?

Does one of these sound like you:

  • I’ve used the same password for 20 years with only a few modifications.
  • I only change my password when forced to. e.g. if a website forces a password change due to a security risk.
  • I always include personal information in my password, such as my name, date of birth or children’s names.
  • I use really secure passwords but keep them written on a piece of paper in my wallet/purse/desk.
  • I have the same password on at least 5 accounts.

Many of are guilty of having one or more of the above styles. Before we get into creating an easy-to-remember, yet secure password let’s review what we do NOT want to do in our passwords.

What NOT to Do to When Creating a Secure Password

  1. Do not use words you can find in the dictionary.
  2. Do not use personal information.
  3. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  4. Do not create short, easy-to-hack passwords. 8 characters should be your absolute minimum. (the longer the better)
  5. Do not write the password down in an unsecure location. (e.g. a post-it note that you put in your wallet)
  6. Do not keep the password the same for a long time.

What You SHOULD Do to Create a Secure Password

  • Do use upper and lowercase letters e.g. HhAa.
  • Do use numbers in your password.
  • Do use special characters in your password e.g. [email protected]#.
  • Do use numbers and special characters within the password (not just at the ends. e.g. Password1! vs [email protected]).

Keys to Creating a Secure Password That You Will Remember

We often find it easier to recall passwords that are tied to memories.  Consider using some of the following inspiration when creating a secure password:

  • your favorites
  • memorable vacations
  • entertainment likes: books, movies, tv shows, magazines
  • any strong memory
  • wedding details
  • firsts

Now let’s turn this inspiration into a secure password.

Example 1

Let’s start with our favorite color:

Start with the phrase. –> I Love Purple

First off we substitute a heart emoticon for the word ‘Love’.

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I + <3 + Purple

Secondly, since “purple” can be found in the dictionary change at least one letter into a number or special character.

I + <3 + Purp!e

Final Password:  I<3Purp!e

You will always remember what your favorite color is so this becomes an easy to recall secure password.

Example 2

Let’s try this again with a TV Show we like, The Big Bang Theory. Let’s add a character from the show into this password and create a phrase using the first character of each word.

My favorite Big Bang Theory character is Sheldon.

M + F + B + B +T + C + I + S

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Next, let’s change the casing to match what it would be in a real sentence.

M + f + B + B +T + c + i + S

Last, we should add a special character and a number.

M+ f + B + ! +T + c + 1 + S

Final password: MfB!Tc1S

Looking at the above password, it doesn’t seem that memorable; however when you say the passphrase, it will be easy to recall. You used an exclamation mark for ‘Bang’ and the number one is to make it more secure.

If you regularly use the same types of swaps for numbers and special characters they will be easier to recall. e.g. for an l or i use a 1 or !.

Example 3

Let’s do one last example. You’ll notice wedding details was included in the inspiration list. But you’ll recall that you don’t want to use personal information, so we want to use a particularly strong memory associated with your wedding. An easy choice would be to use your wedding party.

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Say these were the people in my wedding party: Tom, Charlie, Kent, David, Gloria, Julie, Anna and Mary

First let’s put the first letter from all of those names together.

T + C + K + D + G + J + A + M

Second let’s add in a special character, in this case let’s separate the men’s names from the women’s.

T + C + K + D + # + G + J + A + M

Now we need a number. An easy to remember number would be the month, date or year of your wedding. All 3 split out would make it the most complicated (note: this is personal info but we are using it in a way that makes it hard to hack).

mm + T + C + K + D + # + dd + G + J + A + M + yy

Let’s put in the real numbers now and see the password: 01TCKD#01GJAM00

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This is a pretty secure password already but let’s change up the letter casing by alternating upper and lowercase letters.

Final Password: 01TcKd#01GjAm00

Now it’s your turn. Practice making some secure passwords from favorites or memories out of the inspiration list.

Note: it’s never a bad idea to use a password storage application, even when you create secure passwords that you’ll always remember. We all have so many online accounts that remembering which password goes with which account can be a challenge. 

 

Featured photo credit: 8 Levers of Triplicane / C/N N/G via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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