Passwords are used for protecting even our most sacred data. The very nature of passwords requires that we should remember them, so that we do not have to write them down or save them in a text file, for someone to find later. However, the whole concept of “easy-to-remember passwords” is the primary reason most people choose something that isn’t very secure.
This document aims to assist people in choosing a password that is both easy to remember, yet very hard to crack, brute force, or just plain guess.
The first step is to think of something you can remember easily, and that consists of more than one word. The reason we want more than one word is because one method of “cracking” a password involves using some automated process to go through every word in the dictionary until a match is found. For the purposes of this article, I’ll use the words “periodic table.”
Now, to make it secure. We need to make sure it contains numbers and special characters. But how can we accomplish this without making our password hard to remember? Well, some numbers look like letters. Take 0 (zero). It looks like the letter “o”. So if we replace the letter “o” in our word “periodic table” it now looks like “peri0dic table.” Also, the number 1 looks like the letter “l” (lower-case L). So now we can write our password like “peri0dic tab1e.”
By now we have something that’s somewhat difficult to crack or guess, but it’s still not quite there yet. If you look at the number 3, it looks like a backwards capital E. So no we can write our password like “p3ri0dic tab13.”
We’re getting pretty close to a very strong password, but something is still missing. What could it be? Well, we don’t have any “special characters.” Most of us have email addresses and are quite familiar with the “@” symbol. You will notice it looks like the letter “a.” So now we can write our password like “p3ri0dic t@b13.”
This is very strong now, but it could be stronger. A couple changes could make it so hard to crack, it would take the most sophisticated computers decades to crack. So what else can possibly be done?
Well, in computers, the letter “a” is quite different from “A.” In fact, the difference is so significant, that simply capitalizing a single letter in our password would add years to the amount of time it would take for very sophisticated computers to guess it. With that in mind, we could write our password like “P3ri0dic t@b13.”
And for one last, final touch, we can examine the letter “i.” It looks like an upside down “!” (exclamation point). So we add that to the mix and we get “P3r!0d!c t@b13.”
One misconception is that a password cannot contain the space character, and this is true in very rare instances. There are some systems that will not allow such characters because of the way the systems process the password when you enter it into the system. But for the most part, the space character is certainly allowed in your password. And this author encourages the use of the space character, because it adds to the difficulty of guessing your password.
In the rare instance you encounter a system that doesn’t allow the spacebar character in your password, you will just have to remove it and remember that that particular system doesn’t allow it.