Stock photo of a cell phone displaying the log in screen and a cup of coffee

How to create a good, memorable password in five easy steps

By Jeremy Morong, Banker Help Desk Supervisor

As anyone that has ever tried to log in to a website can tell you, when the system tells you that your password is “incorrect,” that doesn’t mean type INCORRECT into the password field.

What does make a good password?

Ideally, your password should be difficult for someone else to guess. After all, we’ve seen what happens in the movies. The good guy will try to hack into the bad guy’s computer and after a moment or two of some deep thinking, a light bulb will go off and they’ll realize that the bad guy’s password is his daughter’s doll’s name, and just like that, Mission: Impossible becomes possible.

While this makes us happy in the movies (yay, good guys!), in real life it’s generally the bad guy trying to guess our passwords and use them for nefarious purposes. Our job is to stop them. So let me mash my elbow on my keyboard and see if I can create a strong password: uijh784^3mn1OTG0%.

Not bad—nobody is guessing that one! You could type on a computer all day long and never even come close.

But can you remember it?

If you can, good for you: uijh784^3mn1OTG0% is your new password! However, for those of us without photographic memories, there must be a better way, right? There is! Here are a few tips that allow you to create stronger passwords, keeping in mind that most websites will have their own requirements such as the inclusion of upper-and-lower case letters, symbols, and numbers.

  1. Take a phrase you know well and use the first letters to form a password. For example, I love eating chocolate pretzels can form the basis of a strong password by becoming ILECP.
     
  2. Put nonsense words together to form a strong password. I love dogs would be a poor choice since it is a grammatically correct phrase, but French Turkey Football would make a strong password since it makes no sense in context. And the unusualness of the phrase might make it easier for you to remember the same way we used Never Eat Soggy Waffles to remember north-south-east-west back in elementary school.
     
  3. Include more than eight characters.
     
  4. Change them regularly. (Great Western ebanking requires that the password be changed annually.)
     
  5. Use a combination of upper-and-lower case letters, symbols, and numbers whether the website requires it or not. 
     

Now you are ready to come up with your own memorable password.

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