Tips and Tricks for creating passwords

By Jon Phish, Sat 31 January 2015, in category Features


Everyone in the world who has access to the internet or works within a corporate intranet knows all too well about having to manage multiple passwords to access their various accounts. Problems always arise with remembering passwords because you have not used an account for a long period of time, forgot your recently changed password or cannot remember which password is for which account. All of the above bring a certain level of complexity to the management of passwords and what makes it even worse is that passwords themselves require a certain level of complexity in order to avoid hackers from accessing your personal data and devices.

In this feature, we will give you a couple of tips and tricks for creating passwords. Some of these ideas are not novel, but will give you some assistance when creating passwords.

Always use numbers and capital letters in a sequence

Yes, we know what you are thinking. "I already do this" or "I am accustom using both numbers and letters", but there is more strategy to this method than you probably think. Most people always use a word followed buy a sequence of numbers like runningboy1234 or runningman5678. This is a good method for formulating your passwords, but there is more that can be done. Placing numbers between words and using capital letters in non-English standard places within your password gives it a more complex structure and makes it harder to figure out. So if we applied this new strategy to the passwords above, then runningboy1234 would be ruN1niN2gbO3oy4. As you can probably observe, every third letter is capitalized in 'runningboy' and a number is placed after the capitalized letter. Your strategy does not have to be the same. You can choose whatever sequence you are comfortable with remembering. We want to impress upon you that using a capital letter / number sequence in your password would give you a better password.

Use your everyday non-English words

There several non-English words used by English speakers on a daily basis. Many of the places, food, animals and other cultural everyday items have non-English names in most English-speaking countries throughout the world. The same can be said with any other country where names are derived from the misspelling or mispronunciation of words from other languages. These names are familiar to you, but not always to anyone else and therefore are perfect candidates for a password. Food, animals and local items in conjunction with an adjective and some numbers can be a perfect strategy for creating and remembering your password. For example, quiEt3Paca (i.e. quiet Paca) is a good example of this strategy. However, it should be noted that you should not use the names of towns, cities or boroughs because they are public knowledge.

Use Partial Leetspeak

Now for those who do not know or understand leetspeak, do not be afraid. We are going to avoid the confusion of learning an entire new method of spelling words using symbols on your keyboard. However, we are going to take elements of leetspeak and further simplify the process. To begin, there are certain numbers and symbols on your keyboard that look like letters. These symbols can be used to replace letters in your passwords. For example, the letter 'a' and the '@' symbol look the same. Therefore, using this strategy on the password 'rottenapple12' would yield the new password 'rotten@pple12'. This substitution adds complexity to the password, but does not take away its meaning, which makes the password easily memorable. Here are some other symbols and numbers that can be used in place of letters:

e = 3

s = 5 or $

o = 0 (zero)

i = !

Use Pattern Typing

This strategy is very difficult to master, but with practice it becomes easier over time. If you have an Android phone, then you probably know about the pattern lock system where you are given nine dots and must connect these dots in a predetermined pattern to unlock your device. Pattern typing follows the same idea as the pattern locking system. Firstly, you must choose an area of your keyboard containing both numbers and letters. Draw a pattern by connecting the numbers and letters in no particular order and presto there is your password. The main advantage of this strategy is that no definitive word is created in the process and only you know the pattern. However, it can be difficult to master because the keys on a keyboard are not perfectly aligned and can cause confusion if you don't know where to begin.

These four (4) strategies are great for both creating and remembering passwords. However, if you still have problems with remembering your passwords, may we suggest a password manager such as LastPass or KeePass. Both managers are really good and keep your passwords safe.