Well, it’s the morning of my birthday and I decided to start this day by waking up at 5:30AM and not being able to go back to sleep. That wasn’t my choice, but I figured as long as I’m up, I might as well give presents to everyone…or at least this one pretty cool trick.
Face it, it’s tough to remember passwords. Truthfully, I didn’t think much about this until someone asked me right after I performed a mind reading trick, “If you ever forget your password to something, can you do what you just did to figure it out?” Even though this guy might’ve been joking, it really got me thinking about a creative way to remember passwords. Now, one thing you should know about me: on a scale of 1-10, my nerdy-ness ranks in at about a 9. Because of this, I’m frequently called upon by friends and family to fix their computers. At some point during the fixing process, a password for something will have to be entered, sending us into what feels like a search for the Ark of the Covenant. If anything helped fuel the fire on creating an easy way to remember passwords, this was it.
Most websites will give you a lot of requirements for your password. “Your password must be at least 6 characters long and must include one letter, one number, one upper case letter, a Japanese proverb, and the blood of a small goat.” In all seriousness, it’s a task for people to really have a strong password. Computer experts actually give 2 additional criteria. One is, your passwords should not contain actual words. Well I saw a great trick for this. Pick a phrase like “76 Trombones led the big parade” and use the numbers and the first letter of each word as your password (76tltbp). Pretty cool right? Well get ready. The second criteria experts give is that you should use different passwords for everything. Ok, I was good up until the last one. How in the world am I supposed to remember passwords for 15 different websites and accounts? And I should point out, I want to remember them rather than write them down because, in case someone ever breaks into my house, I don’t want them to be able to steal a notepad with critical information. Well, I’m going to show you something I created so that you only have to remember one password and it will be different for every website and account you use.
Ok, what’s our minimum criteria?
– 8 Characters
– 1 upper case letter
– 1 lower case letter
– 1 number
– no words
– different passwords for everything.
Seem tough? Not really. Here are the steps.
1. Pick a word: I know, no words, but trust me. Pick a word that’s four characters or more that you can remember (horse).
2. Pick a date: You can use the year you were born or a date of your favorite historic event, preferably when dates were four digits long (1984).
3. Now, put them together and capitalize the first 3 letters: (HORse1984) Believe it or not, this is the only password you’ll ever have to remember! We’ll call this your “key password”. If you remember this, your accounts will be bulletproof, because…take a look at number 4.
4. What are you logging into?: Facebook? Network? Bank Account? Well, all you do is replace the first three letters of your password (which are capitalized) with the first three letters of the title of whatever it is you’re logging into. So if it’s Facebook, your password would be “FACse1984”. BINGO! All criteria met! Fifth Third Bank: FIFse1984. WIFI network at home: WIFse1984. You getting it?
The success rate on this, with everyone I’ve shown it to, has been 100%. One key password to remember and simply replacing the first 3 letters with the title of whatever it is you’re logging into. And as a side note, on websites where there is a password strength meter, the typical reading is “Strong”.
So with that, I hope from this day forward, all of your passwords are safe and one last thing, HORse1984 is not my password for anything in case you were wondering.