Make a “Hard to Guess but Easy to Remember” Password for Greater Cloud Security

Remembering passwords

Image by hardeep.singh via Flickr

In my last post, I recommended using a password manager like LastPass to help you create strong, unique passwords for all of the different sites you use. If you don’t like the idea of storing passwords in the cloud, the next best way is to create a mnemonic password formula. The way it works is to create an easy-to-remember “formula” that enables you to use a different strong password on each site. It consists of a strong password that’s the same on every site(so you can remember it) but with a different component for each site.


Here’s one method:

Take the first letter from each word in a favorite song lyric. I just happen to have “Panic” by the Smiths on right now. The first line is

Panic on the streets of London/ Panic on the streets of Birmingham

If you take the first letters from each word, you get:


Already, that’s pretty cryptic because it’s not a dictionary word and it has both upper and lower case letters. It’s also easy to remember because I can just hum it to myself. Then you can add numbers and punctuation to make it stronger


I added a slash where it would come in the lyrics, and I put my dog’s birthday backwards. Now I have a very strong password that’s easy to remember. This is the part I commit to memory. Very strong, but it doesn’t solve the problem of having different passwords on each site.

Next step is to add the first three letters of the site into the password. We’re going to have [memorized password] + [first 3 letters of site name].

My Facebook password would be PotsoL/PotsoB4220+Fac

My PayPal password would be PotsoL/PotsoB4220+Pay

So what you end up with is a very long and secure password that’s different on every site and easy to remember. This is just one way of creating a mnemonic password, but it’s the best way I know to do this. Of course, the trick is that you have to be consistent in your formula. If you don’t stick with the exact formula it’ll be a nightmare to recall it. Not to mention what a hassle it is to have to type this every time.


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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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3 Responses

  1. Monkee Do says:

    If you have every clicked “forgot password”  or worse had to reset your password, this easy solution is for you.

  2. Monkee Do says:

    If you have every clicked “forgot password”  or worse had to reset your password, this easy solution is for you.

  1. July 1, 2011

    […] 1. Use unique strong passwords for all of your different “cloud” accounts. This way if one password gets compromised it does not open up all the rest of your accounts as well. Using a password manager like LastPass can help (I swear by it), or you can also create a hard-to-guess-but-easy-to-remember password formula. […]


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