Everyone knows it’s bad to use the same password for different sites. People do it anyway because remembering different passwords is annoying. Remembering different difficult passwords is even more annoying.
Here is a foolproof technique for creating passwords, that are hard to crack and easy to remember. Plus, it takes just minutes to learn.
Start with an original but memorable phrase. For this exercise, let’s use these two sentences: I like to eat bagels at the airport and my first Cadillac was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota —just make sure it’s something you can remember without having to write it down. That’s the key!
Turn your phrase into an acronym. Be sure to use some numbers and symbols and capital letters, too.
I like to eat bagels at the airport = Ilteb@ta
My first Cadillac was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota = M1stCwarlsIbaT.
A sentence like: It’s 20 degrees in February, so I use Gmail, lets you set a new Gmail password every month and still never forget it: i90diSsIuG for September, i30diMsIuG for March, etc. (These aren’t realistic temperatures; they’re the month-number multiplied by 10.)
That’s it—you’re done.
Important to remember:
You should use different passwords for each of your social networking accounts—someone can do real damage by breaking into your Facebook or Twitter, so you want to keep them distinct. Reserve strong, most distinct passwords for the few very important accounts—your online banking, your computer, your online bills, and your e-mail accounts, which often contains the keys to everything else in your life.
You don’t have to keep unique passwords for every single site you visit—it’s perfectly OK to repeat passwords on sites that don’t need to be kept very secure. For instance, the New York Times, The New Yorker, and other online magazines, because it won’t hurt too much if someone breaks into those.