Swordfish was never clever. Nor was “ABC123” or “LetMeIn.”
I’ve talked about the common pitfalls most people fall into when making passwords, and the need to keep just a few distinct passwords going at any time. Now let’s talk about creativity.
With the need for stronger passwords, we are now forced to use combinations of upper/lowercase, numbers, and sometimes irregular characters. And yet, 98% of the passwords tend to be along the lines of: Joseph2 or JSmith3. Sure, you can muddle through life that way .. or you can tie the p.w. to one of your favorite pop culture references and have some fun with it.
Option 1: Sayings
We all have our minds loaded up with cliches anyway, so put them to use for you. Take the first letter from each word and substitute number signs wherever possible.
“One bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” becomes 1Bithiw2itb
“A stitch in time saves 9” becomes Asits9
See how simple they are? And since they have nothing to do with your name, they’re less hacker-friendly.
Option 2: Famous Quotes
This is my favorite path to use – historical quotes, movie lines, etc. You can use the same truncating formula as above.
“Four score and seven years ago” becomes either 4sa7ya or, if you’re going to do the math anyway, 80a7ya
“Show me the money!” becomes Smt$!
I love this one because it exploits non-traditional characters, so doesn’t need numbers at all.
Here’s another one that does that:
“I am serious and don’t call me Shirley” becomes Ias&dcmS
Option 3: LeetSpeak
LeetSpeak is what we used to call shortcutting the language for speed when typing … back when only geeks were using 3s for Es and calling it cool. These days when we growl at our kids for skipping letters when they text us … it’s the same dang thing.
Example: Baseball could become B@s3b@ll
Scrapbook becomes Scr@pb00k (those are zeros to replace the O’s)
Option 4: 80s Music
Since I’ve already told you my age, we might as well embrace my decade. Ah, the 80s, when everyone forgot how to spell. So many stupid band names and even worse song names, but for a quick password they are golden.
Examples (don’t judge me – I’m just passing these along):
IWouldWalk500Miles — Iww500m
And honorable mention goes to: Jenny8675309
Please feel free to post some other examples. Readers, just remember these are intended to get you started, or to use as “Level 4” throw-away passwords.
See also: 4 Levels of passwords, and Common mistakes