How To Create Strong, Memorable Password

Look at this password:

  • C&P65red16!

Before you read on, take a moment to think on this password. The challenge is to explain how it was created. And, no, it wasn’t created by a random password generator.

Take a moment, I will wait…

We have too many passwords in our lives, and as technology moves forward there is little chance that we will be needing fewer passwords in the future. We all know the rules: don’t use the same password more than once, don’t use something common (like a birthday), etc. You can see in the illustration above (and thank you to for that) proper passwords are long and complex. So how, exactly, does one create decent, memorable passwords?

The answer is simple; you don’t

Well, you don’t create the passwords, per se. What you do create are rules which govern your passwords. These rules can be almost anything. These rules, when put together, create a unique and complex password. The easiest way to explain, I think, is to run through an example.

Let us say that Teri Thornton needs to create a good password system. She is a student of Russian Literature at a major University and wants to protect her work and online identity better. So she creates the following series of rules to manage her passwords:

  1. Her favorite novel is Crime and Punishment, so she takes C&P for her password.
  2. Crime and Punishment was published in 1865. That gives her two numbers for her password, 65.
  3. Now to keep up a level of randomness in her passwords, Teri shall take the first three letters of whatever website or account to which the password is assigned in lower case.
  4. Finally, Teri plans on taking her degree in 2016. She is actually quite firm on this. So she takes 16! to end her passwords.

How did Teri do? Let us look as a couple of her new passwords. First the password for Amazon, and second, her password for Google.

  1. C&P65ama16!
  2. C&P65goo16!

Now, don’t those two look complicated and random? They both meet and exceed what makes a password strong. These passwords make sense to us because we know the rules which created them. But if you create your own rules, then to another the password looks like garbeldy-gook, much like the password at the beginning of this post (it is Teri’s password for RedBox).