Memories Make Great Passwords

Let’s talk about building strong and easy to remember passwords. Wait, wait, wait, don’t go yet! I know, a computer tech or a company handbook goes over the boring password requirements, and it seems like a pain, but I have a cool trick on how to come up with passwords. I use this trick myself for all of my passwords and want to share it with you.

Think of something happy or memorable in your life. Maybe you went on a beautiful hike with your family. Perhaps you had a job promotion. Or you were able to test drive your dream car. I like to pull from a positive event or experiences as the root of my password to help remember it. For an example, I recently took my family to Glenwood Springs, and my son showed me his new dog paddle in the Hot Springs Pool. I was excited to see my son swimming all by himself!

Now I take that memory and turn it into a short phrase: “My son is swimming!” Now that we have a phrase to key off of let’s trim it up to use as a password. First, remove the spaces:

Mysonisswimming!

Passwords like to see a mix of capital and normal case letters, so let’s tweak the phrase further by capitalizing the first letter of each word:

MySonIsSwimming!

Usually, a password policy wants numbers and/or special characters. I already have an exclamation point (because I was a proud daddy that day), so let’s replace a letter with a similar number:

MyS0nIsSwimming!

Notice I replaced the letter O with the number 0. Depending on your preference, you can do this with several letters, for example, MyS0n12Sw1mm1ng!. You can use any combination of letters or numbers for replacements. Try the number 1 or an exclamation mark (!) for the letter I, the number 3 for the letter E, the number 5 for the letter S (similar shapes) or an At Symbol (@) for the letter A. Be creative with the character replacements as long as you can remember it!

What I like about this method of password protection is you get the benefit of revisiting a happy memory, it will be something truly unique, cyber attackers will have a hard time guessing it, and it meets most company’s password requirements. Now it’s your turn, can you think of a few passwords that you should update to be more complicated and tied to something memorable? If you need help updating your password or learning how to better protect your data, give us a call at 303-757-0779.