How many online accounts do you have? Think about your email (work and private), social media, online banking, utilities, ecommerce sites including Amazon and eBay, PayPal, iTunes, Spotify and any other sites you frequent. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that we have on average 27 accounts. Now, how many passwords do you have?
The subject of passwords is a bit of a sore one. We all know we should pick difficult combinations of letters, numbers and characters and that it should be unique for each website. But who can remember 27 variations of Rd54-sd6@d-73D?
This is an issue a lot of our clients face when we build them a WordPress website, which features a password strength checker. They require a complex password but as many clients note, this just adds yet another password to the many they already have to remember.
Password solution to all your problems
A password system I use includes a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols and is unique for every site I visit. On top of that, I can remember all my passwords by heart. And no, I don’t have a photographic memory.
I have come up with a fairly simple formula I apply to every site I need to create an account on. I only need to remember one thing – the formula – and I can figure out my password on any site I visit. You can create a similar formula as well:
- Choose a memorable single or double-digit number that you can remember easily
- Choose an activity such as a hobby that you enjoy and can remember easily
Let’s say you chose the number nine and the activity “jogging”. Now combine them by replacing the “gg” in the middle of the word with two nines so you have “jo99ing”. Add a capital letter and a symbol so it’s now “Jo99ing&”. That’s pretty much all you have to remember.
Now when you visit a site integrate a few letters from the site’s name into your formula by tacking them onto the end:
- Your Facebook password would be: Jo99ing&fa
- Your Gmail password would be: Jo99ing&gm
There are a number of online tools where you can test your password’s strength to ensure it meets the minimum standard such as the Cloudwards Password Generator. This one allows you to test your existing password or create one from scratch based on the strength parameters you set. I tested the two passwords above using The Password Meter and they both fared well:
Once you choose a formula based on information that’s personal and relevant to you, it will be easy to remember. And while this system isn’t flawless, it will certainly increase your overall password security which is still a very real issue. A recent report on data breaches showed that 63% were caused by hacked or stolen passwords. The stronger your password, the less likely it will be hacked.
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