Do you use the same password for everything?
If so, you’re in good company. Most people do.
And that’s why hackers can easily get into their bank accounts after learning what their password is for Twitter.
So, don’t be an easy mark for hackers.
Don’t make your life harder by using passwords like this either:
Yes, that password is hard to guess.
But it’s also impossible to remember. And really hard to type out.
Here’s a clever little system for creating impossible-to-guess passwords. Come up with three random words like:
Guess what? You can make a password with those three words.
And you can put a space between each word if you want (spaces are valid characters in password fields).
So, if you were asked to create a password for your bank it could be:
Pug Celery Mop
That password would be easy to remember.
It’d be even easier if you took a moment to create a mental picture of a Pug dog “smoking” a celery stalk like it was a cigar while using a mop to clean up a messy spill.
Make it even more vivid by picturing the Pug with a bowler hat in a busy office mopping and yelling at someone who spilled the thing that’s being mopped up.
So this is a great trick, right?
By the way, this is called a “passphrase.”
And when you use a passphrase, you can leave a space between the words if you want. Or not.
It’s up to you.
But you get the principle here, right?
You can combine words to make passwords that are easy to type but hard to guess.
And if you want to make your “master password” different for different sites that’s easy too.
Let’s say you want a unique password for your American Express account.
Pug Celery Mop Amex
Or you could use Amex instead of “Mop” like this:
Pug Celery Amex
The key is you now understand how to create a simple system that works easily for you.
And you can modify elements of the system if you want.
Most of all, realize this…
You can make technology work for you, not against you.
Now you know: passwords don’t have to be hard to remember or hard to type to be secure.
Why haven’t you learned about this before? Well, not everyone in the tech world is properly incentivized.
For example, most security consultants would prefer you believe that securing digital data is complicated and hard (so they can sell you their overpriced “solutions”)
But you know better now, right?
Oh, and can you still remember those three words I mentioned earlier?
Yes, I bet you can.
Because of the striking visual of a pug with a celery cigar mopping up a spill.
Who could forget that weird image?
By the way…that trick for using vivid visuals to remember things is explained in Moonwalking with Einstein, by Joshua Foer
P.S. If you want a practice optimized for remote work & virtual collaboration, get this 24-page guide.