A recent segment on Jimmy Kimmel made me start questioning the strength of my own passwords.
Google can suggest a password generator to help. I tried one that randomly generated the password “D5_7SdyPW!22N*ds”. That seemed like a very strong password if only I could remember it.
Even if I gave the effort to commit it to memory, experts overwhelmingly agree that you don’t need to use the same password for multiple sites. I don’t want to memorize a couple of dozen obscure passwords, so what do we do?
Here are some quick tips:
- DO NOT Use proper nouns such as “John”
- DO NOT Follow patterns on the keyboard such as “QWERTY” or “12345”
- DO NOT Use “password”
- DO NOT Use the same password for every site
- DO use mnemonics, or memory tools. I.E. the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, & Violet, becomes ROYGBIV.
- DO make it personal. “Captain America is my favorite super hero” becomes “CAIMFSH”
- DO substitute numbers for similar looking letters. The number 4 may be a good substitute for an “A”, a “3” for an “E”, or “1” for a lowercase “L”. But don’t be consistent, or your pattern will be easy to figure out.
- DO make them long. With each letter you add, it becomes exponentially more difficult to decipher. “Captain America is my favorite super hero*but I also really like Spider Man!” could become C41mfsh*b1arlSM! That is a 16 digit, seemingly-random-character password I can remember.
- DO make them relate to their respective website so they’re easier to remember. For example, your iTunes password might include the combined names of your favorite lead singers, and your work email might contain the lyrics to Chain Gang. Again, just don’t be too obvious.
If that’s more work than you're willing to do, you can also use a password manager to securely store your passwords.
Password Genie is one such manager and is part of our Tech Home product. You first create your account and download the app. It will then store your login and password information behind multiple layers of security and will automatically populate them the next time you visit that particular site. And best of all, because it is a web-based service, it is available on all of your devices.
Find out more about Password Genie and Tech Home by clicking here.Feeling bad about your password? Check out Jimmy Kimmel’s street interviews and you’ll automatically feel smarter. Then do something about your weak passwords.