Have you noticed that sites are putting more restrictions on passwords you create? They have to include numbers, capital letters, symbols, I’ve even seen some that don’t allow your password to be a dictionary word. Then, you can’t use a password you’ve used in the past. Ugh! What do these people want from us!?! Well, they want to keep our information safe, and that’s a gift.
Passwords are there for your security and sites want to make it hard for hackers, not you. Since much of our information is moving from paper to server, keeping our information safe from thieves and hackers is important. We shouldn’t view passwords as a nuisance, but as a welcome barrier, like a lock on your front door.
It’s true, there are many restrictions for passwords these days. It can be hard to come up with a password that’s not a dictionary word or that has numbers and symbols. I have a solution that will make your password creation seamless, leaving you with peace of mind. Here are the keys to create a strong password that you’ll remember.
The strongest passwords cannot be guessed easily. This means that “password” is not a password. If this is your password, change it as soon as you finish reading this post. Password generators are fine, but not memorable because they’re not meaningful. Choosing a password that is meaningful and personal to you will be tough to forget.
The first step is to choose a meaningful string of words and numbers. It can be an address or a phrase. For example, let’s use a street address like 123 Main Street City, State 98765. Another example for a meaningful phrase is a Bible reference like, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:7. It could even be a special someone’s birthday like John January 1, 2000.
Do you have your string or phrase in mind? Great. Now let’s take that phrase and digitize it.
Using your meaningful string/phrase, take the first letter of each word (or the whole word if your phrase is short), and turn it into a non-word password using capital letters as they are or mix capitals and lower-case. Then, use the numbers as they are. Finally, take symbols that go along with your phrase and insert them accordingly.
Let’s use the examples I mentioned earlier.
- 123 Main Street City, State 98765 becomes 123msc,ST98765
- “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:7 becomes cayaoHbHcfy1P5:7
- John January 1, 2000 becomes JohnJ1,2000
When you see 123msc,ST98765, cayaoHbHcfy1P5:7, or JohnJ1,2000 on their own, they look completely random, but to you, they have meaning. Bonus gift: this is a great way to memorize Bible verses. Yay!
Now that you know the formula to creating a strong password that you’ll remember, it’s time to keep those strong passwords safe. There are a number of options to help you do that.
- Paper list. The simplest way is to write them all down in a notebook or sheet of paper and keep them in a secure place.
- Digitized Note. Using note-taking apps like Notes for iOS, Evernote, or Google Docs, you can have passwords handy from any device.
- Browser Password Managers. With features built right into web browsers like Chrome and Safari, your browser can memorize new and updated passwords automatically. Just make sure to save them when you see the notification pop up.
- Password Apps. There are lots of free and premium apps that will secure your passwords for you and keep them handy on your devices. Really good apps will also secure use of the app by requiring a pass code or fingerprint before opening.
In the digital age we live in, password security is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. These security measures are in place for your personal benefit. Make security personal and it will be difficult for intruders to hack into. Now go change your password!
Has this formula taken the stress out of creating a strong password? Maybe you have your own handy tip for creating passwords. Share in the comments!