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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. !@#.
  • Do use numbers and special characters within the password (not just at the ends. e.g. Password1! vs pAs5W@rd).

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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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