Ways to Remember Passwords Without Compromising Them

ways to remember passwords

With all the websites we log into every day, forgetting passwords can become a hassle. Most of us are guilty of forgetting a password, or using the same password for each login, simply because of the amount of times we have to fill out login forms daily.

Here are a few tips to help you build a more unique and memorable password that will keep your information secure, while making them easier for you to remember.

Ways to Remember Passwords

1. Create a Tip Sheet

McAfee recommends using a tip sheet that offers clues as to what your password might be while avoiding keeping a list of passwords that could be visible to any wandering eye. Never write your password down anywhere anyone else could see it.

However, writing a cryptic clue that only you would understand to jog your memory should you forget your password is okay. That’s OK if the answer wouldn’t be obvious to anyone, of course.

2. If You Write Your Passwords Down, Disguise Them

It could be the first letter of your password followed by a quick hint of what the rest is.

Or it could be something that rhymes with your password.

Maybe it’s just an acronym that could jog your memory.

If you must write down your passwords, at least disguise them in some way.

And, if you do need to write down your password, keep it away from your computer. Some good hiding spots could be among other letters or papers or alongside a list of phone numbers. Just make sure it isn’t so clear that it’s a password. And if possible, don’t include what the password will unlock.

3. Try Using Shortcuts

Using the name of the website or color of its logo as a jumping block can help you create a memorable and secure password. For example, with Facebook, you could use F or FB as the first or last letters in your password.

Another option would be to use it as a trigger. In that case, F could stand for favorite food, and you could base your password around that.

4. Create your own Code

Replacing a few letters with numbers, purposefully misspelling words or using acronyms and abbreviations are great little ‘code’ tricks you can use to make your password more unique and harder to compromise.

Try replacing the same letters with the same special characters or numbers, or just avoiding certain letters altogether.  Remember, your password is secret, so no one is going to be checking your spelling.

5. Create a Phrase from a Memorable Sentence

Coming up with a sentence and building an acronym is a great way to create a unique password that will stick in your head. Come up with something that means a lot to you, or an inside joke that makes you smile.

For example: ‘When we where 5 my sister Jessie and I cut our bangs.’ This would become something like Www5m$JaIcob. Notice the addition of a number, as well as capital letters. This helps strengthen your password.

6. Choose Four Random Words

Another option is to create a short phrase out of several random words. Using the entire word but still replacing a few letters with special characters helps heighten security. Choose something silly or memorable, like an inside joke or favorite food, animal and color. Ex. Gr33n-3ggs&P!ggy$-f1y.

7. Use a Base Password

Yaara Lancet over at MakeUseOf created this post that has several tips on creating a memorable and safe password.

One trick is to use a base password that you tweak a bit according to the service. You could add the first letter of the site to the beginning or end of your password, or even spell out the entire name, followed by your base code.

If your base was something like 0r@ng3-k!tt3n$, you could make it unique to your Twitter account by adding Tw!tt3r- to the beginning of your password: Tw!tt3r-0r@ng3-k!tt3n$.

8. Avoid Password Patterns and Common Passwords

Choosing a password like 123456 is pretty much asking for trouble. Don’t fall into this habit. Avoiding common passwords and password patterns can help raise security and, in the end, you’ll have a more memorable and unique password.

9. Choose a Favorite Book, Build your Passwords Based on the First Paragraph you Find

Another way to remember passwords, according to Lancet, is choosing a favorite book and building a password based on that.

Open to a random page, find an interesting word, then add the page number, paragraph number, word number or whatever else you want to add.

Try to choose things you’ll remember, interesting or odd words work best, and don’t forget to play around with the use of letters and special characters in order to make them harder to guess.

10. Build a Password from your Favorite Song

It’s hard to forget your favorite song. These ear worms are sometimes stuck on repeat in our heads, so using them as the basis for passwords could be another option to bolster your online security.

Choose a memorable line or chorus, or pick your favorite album and use the names of your favorite songs or band members. The trick is to use something that’s important to you, while avoiding the easiest solutions like your dog’s name or a birthday.

11. Use a Secure Browser that can Remember them for You

Most Internet browsers nowadays, like Firefox, have a nice feature that allows its users to save usernames, emails, and passwords for logins. Of course, this is something you should only do at home; never on a public or shared computer.

12. Try a Password Manager

Although having all of your passwords in one place might not be the best idea, there are a lot of options for password managers that allow users to safely keep their passwords in a list. Some even allow you to change passwords with a single click, all from the app.

Note Photo via Shutterstock

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Aubrielle Billig Aubrielle Billig is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers business as it is impacted by pop culture, entrepreneurs in the arts, and other topics affecting creative businesses. She has a background as an illustrator and her design page can be found at AubrielleBillustrations.

13 Reactions
  1. It’s hard to write all your passwords. I know that I am guilty for creating the same password for everything. But I think it is easier to remember that way.

    • It is important to use a combination of UPPER and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters. However, some websites do not allow the use of special characters like é è ô / ? ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + – | \ ] } { [ `~. There are other characters which you can access by using the ALT + ??? a number will bring up all of the characters in the ASCII Character Set. For example, my password for my system is 40 characters long. I can expand on that by adding even more characters. I remembered it more easily because it is made up of two shorter passwords which were used in the past. It doesn’t spell out anything, is not an acronym – it is just a random set of characters. Some other websites even limit the number of characters you can use; some limit you to 6, 8, 12, 16 etc. Best of luck coming up with a good password.

  2. I’ve also know someone who used a very common password phrase, but then shifted their hands on the keyboard so that it was total gibberish.

  3. I use a pattern. Part with the left hand and part with the right hand. Then I can start on whatever letter I want. I can capitalize the first letter or not. When I write it down, I only have to write the first letter for each hand to know the password.

  4. This sort of solutions should be fine for those people who want to boast their brain power.

    Using a strong password does help a lot even against the attack of cracking the leaked/stolen hashed passwords back to the original passwords. The problem is that few of us can firmly remember many such strong passwords.  It is like we cannot run as fast and far as horses however strongly urged we may be. We are not built like horses.

    At the root of the password headache is the cognitive phenomena called “interference of memory”, by which we cannot firmly remember more than 5 text passwords on average. What worries us is not the password, but the textual password. The textual memory is only a small part of what we remember. We could think of making use of the larger part of our memory that is less subject to interference of memory. More attention could be paid to the efforts of expanding the password system to include images, particularly KNOWN images, as well as conventional texts.

    By the way, some people shout that the password is dead or should be killed dead. The password could be killed, however, only when there is an alternative to the password. Something belonging to the password(PIN, passphrase, etc)and something dependent on the password (ID federations, 2/multi-factor, etc) cannot be the alternative to the password. Neither can be something that has to be used together with the password (biometrics, auto-login, etc). 

  5. Is LastPass an example of a password manager? What’s the weakest link for using this kind of service?

    Could a smartphone’s touch id be a solution to the password challenge in the future?

  6. I think using a password manager should be the #1 recommendation. That’s really the only good way to use many different passwords. I personally think RoboForm works the best, but there are a few others that are pretty good as well.

  7. No one should be writing their passwords down! The easiest way to not have to remember several unique passwords is to use a password manager, I recommend Roboform for its robust backend security.

  8. Short pallindromes are also an excellent way to keep passwords handy. Build passwords off something like : radar
    1/radar/1. :/3radoodar3/: (5)ra6d6ar(5)
    Murderforajarofredrum is an excellent pallindrome but a wee bit long for typing. Ideally, short is better.

  9. thank u for sharing this post
    pretty cool tips these are
    but sometimes It is important to use a combination of UPPER and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters as without them some sites deny to create a password. However, some websites do not allow the use of special characters like é è ô / ? ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + – | \ ] } { [ `~.
    but all over these tips are cool to memorising..
    Harish bali

  10. At the same time though, the fact that I love inserting special characters into my passwords and credentials also means I get to run up against services that simply refuse to support them, and this makes me furious – especially when those services are financial institutions or banks. Seriously guys, I’m going for a long password with special characters so I’m not that guy with a password of “password,” and you’re telling me “eh…we know you’re trying, but keep it to no more than 8 and only use letters and numbers, okay?” Irritating.

  11. As for me, I always mix my password with other passwords and then send it to me via email. I am the only one who knows the real password out of the bunch.

  12. I use a password manager and just have to remember the one password to access the rest. It also lets me easily create new passwords for any new account I setup. The amount of time I save doing it this way is incredible.