How to Create Strong Passwords for Every Site and Remember them All

Published Wednesday, February 23, 2011 1:05 PM

Creating a strong password is essential to keeping you identity and online accounts safe. When websites get hacked and usernames and passwords are stolen many time the thieves have to decrypt the passwords first. If yours is secure enough they might give up on yours before they crack it, or at least give you time to change it.

What makes a password secure?

There are a number of factors that make a password secure including length and the variety of characters you use. A long password with numbers, letters, capitalized letters, and special characters makes for a very secure password that could take some time to crack. Each time you add a variable to your password it increases the time it takes to crack it exponentially.

Create a Password Generation Rule
One of the best ways to create long secure passwords that is different for every site and that you can remember is to create a password generation rule for unique to you.

  • Start by thinking of a short default password starter link a nickname, keyboard combination, or whatever you want.
  • Then add a rule that involves the name of the website or service. You might think to remove vowels or consonants or whatever you can think of that you will remember. If your starter is "qwerty" and the website is Google your password might be qwertyggl.
  • Add some special characters and numbers that you can remember at specific places in your password. So our password might now look like this qwerty@ggl2003.
  • then decide to always capitalize at least one letter. So now we have Qwerty@ggl2003
Now all you have to do is remember your password rule and you can figure out any password for any website you come to. The likelihood that someone would figure out your naming convention with a single password is unlikely and if they have multiple passwords of yours you have bigger problems than someone stealing your passwords. Many hackers simply steal credentials and use a script to attempt to use then elsewhere. If they are unsuccessful they often times dumped them. So if your password is secure and different on all sites you will most likely be okay or at least have time to change them before a breach.

Password Service
There are many password services out there that provide password generation and auto filling that can be very handy. One of my favorites is OnePass. OnePass is free and works on all the popular browsers which is great if you don't hold true to one browser. It's full of great features and is very secure. It can even prevent keylogging malware from getting to your passwords with a virtual keyboard input system for logging into your OnePass account. It also works with a yubikey which I have written about before and adds another layer of protection.
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