A compelling idea for creating strong passwords that are easy to remember
I take my online security very seriously. (You should too.) That means, using HTTPS whenever possible, being wary whenever I’m out on public wifi, and, most importantly, strong passwords on every single site that you identify yourself in; your email most especially.
Unfortunately, one of the very real banes of strong passwords is that they’re generally hard to remember, primarily because they “should” be made up of a cryptic array of characters that seem to follow a rationale that the harder it is for me to recall, the harder it is to crack. I’m guilty of this myself, and I find comfort in having my passwords mimic
y@k3n0Ga4Ar@!ad1234 in every single password opportunity I come across.
To remedy this, an XKCD comic from last week suggests doing something completely different from what we’ve grown accustomed of doing in order to create strong passwords that are easy to remember: pick four random words and slap them together.
The idea has been astute enough that developer Jeff Preshing actually took it upon himself to create an online tool that generates passwords for you, according to the XKCD strip’s specs. (Of course, it’s easy enough to get four random words without an app, but the comments on this article of Preshing’s make for good technical discussions on cryptography, information security and combinatorics.)
Why does this work? Thomas Baekdal‘s article on The Usability of Passwords provides a very thorough discussion on the topic, and I highly recommend reading that for a complete and more accurate explanation. It does a great job of detailing the topic without getting highly technical.
If you’re still not convinced (and wish to stick to complex passwords), then I suggest using something like KeePass or LastPass to help consolidate and remember your passwords in an effectively secure manner.