Choose a phrase or sentence with at least 10 words (or a mix of words and numbers) that’s memorable for you. It might be a song lyric or a book passage. As an example, let’s say you come up with the sentence below:
‘My Daughter Started At King’s College In 2006.’
Upper-case the first letter of each word. Now you have MDSAKCI2006. Replace a few of the letters with symbols or numbers. So the letter S can become $, and the A can become @. Then it reads MD$@KCI2006.
Lower-case one or two of the upper-case letters where you think it makes the most sense (so D could become d), making the password Md$@KCi2006. This way, your password is not only secure but should also fit any website’s password requirements. Now you have a password that’s tough to crack – hooray! But for safety reasons you should not use the exact same password for every website. Next, it’s a good idea to…
Customise your passwords
Take letters from the website URL you’re using and add them to the basic password you just created. You could use the first two and last two letters of the name of the site. For superbalist.com, for instance, take the first two and last two letters of the URL: SU and ST. Put them on either side of your password. You’ll get: SUMd$@KCi2006ST. All you really have to remember is your base password, because it’s the foundation for all of them.
Do the same for all your websites
For gmail.com, take the GM and IL and add them to your root password, giving you: GMMd$@ KCi2006IL. For facebook.com your password becomes FAMd$@KCi2006OK, and so on. That’s it! Now you have a different password for every site that’s easy to recall. So take 20 minutes to redo your current passwords and you can log on with confidence. Still worried you won’t remember? Read on for what to do.
Your just-in-case backup plan
Save a typed list to the cloud
If you have your passwords listed in a Microsoft Word or Excel file on your computer, move it onto an encrypted cloud-based storage program like icloud.com or onedrive.com. You’ll just need to remember the log-on information you use for that cloud service. Or you can print it out and store the list somewhere secret, away from your computer.
Use a password manager app
There are new apps that can store your passwords, while others create unique ones for you. Either way, they’ll automatically be entered when you log on.
Beware of password apps that ask for odd permissions. RoboForm, LastPass, DataVault and mSecure are all legitimate brands.