Choosing more secure passwords will help keep your identity safe on the internet. This article will show you how to create secure, easy-to-remember passwords.
- Firefox can also generate a secure password for you. See How to generate a secure password in Firefox.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Choose a phrase
You can create a more secure password by starting with a simple phrase. For example, let's use a quote from Ogden Nash: "Happiness is having a scratch for every itch."
If we use the first letter of each word, and substitute 4 for "for", we get:
Step 2: Add special characters
This is a reasonably strong password but we can improve it a bit by adding some special characters:
Some websites may not allow the use of some or all special characters. Please be aware of what special characters are allowed to be used.
Step 3: Associate it with a website
We can use our new password on several different websites by adding a prefix or suffix with a mnemonic link to a particular site. Let's use the first letter and the next two consonants in the site name.
Just to add a bit more randomness we'll alternate upper-case and lower case, and if the first character in the site name is a vowel we'll start with upper-case. To mix things up a bit more we'll use the same rule to decide whether to add the site mnemonic to the left side or the right side.
#Hihas4ei:AmZ for Amazon
fCb#Hihas4ei: for Facebook
#Hihas4ei:YtB for YouTube
dRm#Hihas4ei: for Drumbeat
This is just one possible rule for picking the prefix or suffix that you use to customize your password for each web site. Reversing the order of the letters in the suffix, using only vowels, only consonants, or adding some other characters that come to mind when you think about the web site are all possible approaches that will improve security.
While this technique lets us reuse the phrase-generated part of the password on a number of different websites, it would still be a bad idea to use it on a site like a bank account which contains high-value information. Sites like that deserve their own password selection phrase.
Try It Yourself!
Take a moment to think of a phrase that's meaningful to you. Use that phrase to create a secure password that you can customize for each website you visit.
Some websites have a limit on the length of the password field. If you enter a password that is too long you may see a message such as: "Please shorten this text to 20 characters or less", and will need to use a shorter password.