How to Create a Strong Password You’ll Actually Remember

Picking a strong password can be a tricky business, especially if you’re aiming to create one that’s strong and easy to remember. The worry between “not secure enough” and “much too complicated” looms over us all.

But choosing a strong password doesn’t always have to be a stressful situation. There are tons of useful tricks you can use to ensure that your password is both secure and easy to remember.

Here are some tips to help you create more secure and more memorable passwords!

Picture of Login username and password

The Basics

According to traditional advice (which still works!), there are few things you should keep in mind when creating a strong password:

  • Make sure your password has at least 12 characters: When it comes to passwords, the longer the better. There’s no minimum password length everyone agrees on, but you should generally go for passwords that are a minimum of 12 to 14 characters in length.
  • Include numbers, symbols, capital letters, and lower-case letters: A bit of variety never hurt anybody, and it’s actually recommended when creating a password. Use a mix of different types of characters to make the password harder to crack.
  • Stay away from dictionary words, slang, places, common phrases, email addresses, or names: Steer clear of any simple words or phrases. If it can be easily spelled or guessed, your password definitely isn’t as secure as it needs to be.

With all these requirements, sometimes it might seem best to close your eyes and type out a bunch of random characters and use that as your password – but there are still a few extra tips you can use to make sure your passwords are strong and easy for you to remember!

FixMeTip: And just to be sure, don’t put yourself at risk by using one of the worst passwords of 2020 (you’ll thank yourself later!).

Try Using Mnemonics

A mnemonic is a memory device using patterns and associations. Mnemonics are used for an infinite array of topics, are particularly helpful with studying and learning languages, and especially useful when it comes to creating passwords!

Famous mnemonics include:

  • I before E, except after C 
  • Roy G Biv – for remembering the rainbow; Red, Orange, Yellow Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
  • Every good boy deserve fudge/FACE – used in music to remember the notes on the treble staff

By using mnemonics, you can craft yourself a complex password that doesn’t require too much mental stress on your end!

Some tips when choosing your password mnemonics: 

  • Use a sentence or phrase specific to you – something describing a personal experience or interaction, for example ‘I live in a cozy house’ becomes ‘Iliach’
  • Use a phrase that contains upper and lower case letters – for example ‘I lived in a cozy home on Elm Street’ becomes ‘IliachoES’
  • Use a pattern that contains numbers – ‘I lived in a cozy home on 7890 Elm Street’ becomes ‘Iliacho7890ES’
  • Try to use symbols too – ‘I paid $700/month to live in my cozy home on 7890 Elm Street’ is now ‘Ip$7/mtlimcho7890ES’

Use a Passphrase

Sometimes what you’re in need of isn’t a password, but a passphrase. Instead of creating a password that consists of a series of numbers and letters that you have to 50/50 chance of remembering, some cybersecurity professionals suggest using a passphrase!

When it comes to using a passphrase, you’re better of choosing words that don’t naturally go together, then invent a mnemonic story or image to link them. Add a few numbers at the end, and you’ve created a long and complex password! Just make sure that this phrase is something you’ll remember, choosing something completely obscure isn’t always the best way to go.

Image of a song book to explain how you can use passphrase to help you remember your passwords.

Think of a Line from a Song or a Book

Need some help brainstorming a password? Draw some inspiration from your favourite song or book, and start with that. Pick a line or phrase that you know you’ll remember, and change it into a password friendly version!

For example, if you choose a line from the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude”, you can flip it around a bit to make it suitable for your password! While we don’t recommend making your password HeyJude123, you can still use other less known lyrics for a safe and secure password.

Hopefully you gained a bit of knowledge from these password tips! While mnemonics are one of the best methods recommended by cybersecurity professionals for creating a strong and unique password, there are tons of other little tricks that you can use to create something that works for you. Especially in a time when data breaches and hacks are rampant, you’ll want to make sure that your accounts are as secure as they can be!

What tips and tricks have you been using to beef up your password? Let us know in the comments below (but be sure not to leave your actual password)!