passwords

How to Create One Secure Password You Can Use on Any Website

Password Hell

Image Source: Flickr.com / Ron Bennetts

When it comes to passwords, we all have the same problem – we have too many to remember! For every website you sign up for, there is a password associated with your account. And, different services have different password requirements, leaving you with many different passwords that you’re always trying to remember.

Instead of having a list of unique passwords, like each site wants, the reality is that people create passwords that aren’t necessarily secure, but rather are easy for them to remember. Typically people will use important dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries, children’s or pet’s names, or other easy to remember information.

However, since most of us use the same tactics, it makes it easy for hackers to predict passwords, and/or use our computer systems against us to seek out the commonly used information needed to hack passwords.

So how do you create a password that is unique from your other passwords, and unique enough to meet password requirements for the site, but that is still easy enough to remember without keeping a list on your computer?

By creating a password convention system, so that your passwords are both unique to the website, and easy for you to remember.

Pick One Common Password

First, pick one common password you’d like to use. Yes, it does seem counter intuitive, but bear with me for a minute. Think of this common password as a base, the place where all your passwords begin.

The goal is to create one common password that you can easily remember, instead of having several different passwords you have to guess at every time you log in. You’ll want this password to be something easy to remember, and something that meets most common password requirements.

Common password requirements dictate that there are at least 1 upper case letter, 1 lower case letter, and at least 1 number (some passwords require symbols, but we’ll get to that in a minute).

For this example, our common, base password will be: Benji2010.

Modify It

Of course, you cannot and should not use the same password at every website. In fact, we advocate that you have a unique password for every site you use. But, by following these tips, you can create a password convention system that takes your base password and turns it into something unique for every site that is still easy for you to remember.

Once you have your common, base password setup, you can make it unique by adding the initials of the website you are signing up for at the end.

Examples:

Facebook: Benji2010FB   LinkedIn: Benji2010LI  Google+: Benji2010G OR Benji2010G+

You can also change it up and put the initials in the middle if you would like. It doesn’t matter, as long as you are modifying your base password with a convention that is easy to remember.

Examples:

Facebook: BenjiFB2010  LinkedIn: BenjiLI2010  Google+: BenjiG2010 or BenjiG+2010

Unique Symbols Can Replace Common Words

Sometimes, websites require you to have symbols in your passwords as well. There are a few easy ways to deal with this, while still maintaining an easy to remember password convention.

Hold Down Shift

One way to incorporate symbols is to hold down SHIFT when you get to the number portion of your password. So, our example password Benji2010FB becomes Benji@)!)FB.

All that changed is holding down <SHIFT> when typing in 2010. This way, you don’t have to remember the different unique symbols; rather you can just remember that you have to hold down shift when you enter your password.

Pick a Symbol Convention

Another way you could maintain your convention but keep a symbol in the mix, is to pick one symbol you always use in the same spot for every password. Let’s pretend you decided your common symbol is an exclamation point (!), and that you’re going to put it at the end of your passwords. Your base password would become Benji2010FB!

You could also choose to put your symbol at the beginning, like this: !Benji2010FB, or in the middle, like this: Benji2010!FB. It doesn’t really matter, as long as you come up with a convention that is easy for you to remember.

Hopefully these tips gave you a few things to think about when creating a password. As you can see, you can have the same password for every website, as long as you have a password convention that you use to modify your passwords, ensuring they are unique, yet still easy to remember.

Do you have a trick that you like to use to remember your passwords? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in helping people work smarter, not harder, with their technology. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.