Need A Complex Password That’s Easy to Remember? Try This Trick

Tech July 13, 2015

I don’t know what any of my passwords are. Even if you torture me for information, I still won’t be able to tell you—unless you give me a keyboard. But let’s save that story for later. Let us start by taking a look at what makes a strong password.

The Basics

Key” by nikcname on Flickr

Most sources would tell you that your password should be at least eight characters long and consist of a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters (this is why I don’t understand why some websites only allow alphanumeric passwords).

This means that it is never a good idea to use “love” or your date of birth to secure valuable data. Passwords like these can be cracked in no time and with very little human intervention. All a hacker has to do is run a script that goes through all the words in a dictionary or try all possible combinations of a series of numbers to get in.

Obviously, something like “yDm*%[email protected]” would work so much better, but it would be incredibly difficult to memorize.

But Don’t List it Down

Think Gethin is going to grow up to be a hacker - found him compiling a list of passwords
“Think Gethin is going to grow up to be a hacker – found him compiling a list of passwords” by Cole Henley on Flickr

Complicated passwords are probably the reason some people end up keeping a list of all their log-in details on their phones or computers. But what if these devices get lost or stolen? Then you’re left scrambling to remember and change all your passwords before your important data is compromised.

There’s a trick to creating and remembering ultra-complicated passwords without having to list them down—and I’ll tell you all about it in the next section.

Use Keystroke Patterns

#21 :: 01/21/10 :: I program in my sleep.
“#21 :: 01/21/10 :: I program in my sleep.” by Rachel Johnson on Flickr

When I said at the beginning of this article that I did not know what my passwords are, it’s because I have no idea what they look like listed down. All I memorize are keystrokes. When I create passwords, I just look at the keyboard and type in easy-to-remember patterns.

Why don’t we give it a shot? Try to locate this pattern on your keyboard: “4rf 5tg 6yh”. See how complicated it looks on paper when it’s just a series of three diagonal lines (which may be slightly skewed depending on the type of keyboard you are using)? That’s the beauty of this approach.

Now, try pressing shift as you type in the first and third lines. Here’s what you should get: “$RF 5tg ^YH”. Just remove the spaces and you have this: “$RF5tg^YH”. I don’t know about you, but that looks like a pretty strong password to me—and you don’t even need to have the characters memorized! It’s just three diagonal lines on your keyboard!

There you have it. You can now stop using words and dates as passwords. Creating and memorizing strong passwords is easy. All it takes is a little creativity.

If you know of any other password tips and tricks, share them with us in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Need A Complex Password That’s Easy to Remember? Try This Trick

  1. The best password I’ve ever had is only six characters long, and it’s stronger than a twelve character one on an account that got hacked. All I did was select a word that means a lot to me, then strengthened it against dictionary bash attacks by translating it into Al Bhed before translating the result into leet speak. It hasn’t been broken yet.

    1. That’s a pretty creative concept—actually a pretty good one. Makes it tough to break while easy to remember.

      I’m a bit of a cheater myself: I use a password manager which helps ensure every password is ridiculously long and complicated. If you asked me what 99.9% of my passwords are, I would have no idea. 😉

      1. Yeah. The strongest part is the Al Bhed component because it’s not even a real language, it’s just the result of passing words through a substitution cipher created by Squaresoft for Final Fantasy X. The result is a word that Google Translate (for example) can’t do anything with even after it’s been translated from leet speak. In fact, the leet speak isn’t strictly necessary, it just adds the numbers and special characters one is advised to use for the strongest password available.

  2. For me the best passwords come from song lyrics, though they could also be poetry, movie lines or any other phrase.
    Here’s a sample from Bruce Springsteen:
    The Highway’s Jammed With Broken Heroes On A Last Chance Power Drive.
    12 words. Now take the first letter of each word. THJWBHOALCPD. Senseless.
    Now insert leet or alt numbers. [email protected]. My latest trick is writing b as |3 or N as ||.
    I used to use transliteration of Russian or Welsh words with leet letters, but they’re harder to remember.

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