More than once we’ve heard (and read) from security experts about website passwords: keep them long; keep them strong; keep them unique. The first two are not much of a challenge, the third may be. It’s not uncommon to visit and use dozens of websites, some of us may get up into the hundreds. The questions becomes, then, how to generate long, strong, unique passwords for each site, and be able to recall them when needed. And without referring to a post-it or electronic file, please.
Here’s a method that’s used by a few of us here at 2-Way that’s proven to provide strong passwords that are easy to recall. It’s based simply on the website name, three years, and three special characters. Here’s how it works:
Three of my favorite historical figures were born in 1473, 1564, and 1643. My three special characters (in alphabetical order) are the ampersand, dollar sign, and exclamation point. Finally, HP is the manufacturer of computer hardware I use. If H-P is thought of as a range of the alphabet, all of the above falls into a grid …
|A – G||H – P||Q – Z|
To create a password for Amazon, as example, I select the first and last two letters of the website name
Since the leading character is a, the four digits I choose are 1473 (from the A-G column). My password then is
I let the last letter of the website name determine the special character. Since n falls into the range of H – P, I use (from the H – P column) the $, giving
Needing uppercase letters, I go one box to the right of the special character and drop down one. If your four alpha-characters can be represented by wxyz, having YZ capitalized means my password now is
Done. Similarly, a password for Google would be gO14&Le73, WordPress gives WO16!ss43, and a password for Motorola becomes mO15&La64.
Since the years, special characters, and capitalization scheme you choose will be unique, the likelihood of someone guessing one of your passwords is very, very slim. And, after generating a few passwords using the chart you’ve created, creating the next dozen or more is quite easy.
That’s it. Using this scheme, I don’t need a to remember a password; the website name tells me what the password is. Try it a few times for yourself and let us know what you think.