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How to create strong passwords

By 18 Aug ’09No Comments
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I’m hoping that this post will help people create good strong secure individual passwords for multiple sites. These days we all have various accounts on-line. It has become common practice to have one password for all accounts which is a big no no.  If a hacker is successful at hacking in to your one of your accounts, the very first thing they do is to try and log-in in to every other web-service with the same email/user id and the same password. Usually when a hacker has been successful – they’ll then lock you out of your own account by changing the passwords on you which would be baaaaaad news.

The key here is to create dramatically diverse passwords that YOU find easy to remember. More accurately it is about creating a system that you can easily remember but is also easy enough to make each password for each site unique

Most people will usually have a phrase or two that they use for passwords and that is the key for that. My recommendation for going about creating a system is to build it in chunks where those chunks based on your usual phrase and some common password thinking. Once you have created the system you hopefully wont have to to worry about remembering lots of passwords ever again.

You will need only 3 things:

  1. Time
  2. Patience
  3. Some lateral thinking.

In order to create a secure system we need number 3 of the above list. Some lateral thinking. There are 4 principles that you can apply in building your system. As you read on you will see that you will be able to mix and match any of them. The most secure password however, would be produced by using all of them together.


 numbersLets start at he beginning. If you have a phrase that you usually use i would suggest using that. If you have two phrases – why not combine them!.  Alot of people have a regular password phrase. But a phrase on it’s own is not enough. So the easiest step is to take that phrase and add a number to it:

To demonstrate I will  use two phrases:


When it comes to choosing a number it can be anything.If you have a number that means alot to you then use that. At the very least it should be a two digit number so that rules out the number “7&”.  If your fav number is only a single digit number then multiply it by 11.

To demonstrate I will  use the number


With these assets i can create the following passwords:




You can see that this already creates several different possibilities but a phrase and a number alone is still not secure enough.

2). Character Alternatives. keywords

For some the following will be a familiar concept but for others it may be a bit more complex. It’s not difficult its actually really easy (that’s the whole idea). Below you will see a list of letters. Beside them are displayed alternative numbers/symbols that look similar at a glance. i.e. the general shape of one is similar to that of the other.

A = 4

B = 8

E = 3

I = 1

O = 0 (numeric zero)

S = 5

Lets take our word “CABBAGE” as test subject –  Using the above alternatives:


If you were to mix up the case it could become even more diverse:

CABBAGE= c48b4G3

All you have to remember is the phrase and then apply the alternatives to it. Now if we apply rules 1 and 2 we could get the following results:




How you decide to apply those is up to you but i would recommend being as consistent as you can across the board. Remember the idea is to keep the system simple.


Using Separators to split the phrases and website abbreviations helps also. It helps by giving you the opportunity to introduce more adverse characters and by visually splitting the phrases/words.  This will certainly diversify your passwords.

Below is a just a few characters accessible from your keyboard:

!  ”  £  $  %  ^  &  *  (  ) :  ;  +  _  –  =  `  ¬ ‘  @  ~  #  ?  /  |  \

The idea is to use these to separate the phrases and numbers of your password. It may be visually easier to identify them as separators by making combos of them:







Using these could produce the following results:

CABBAGE PEPPER 75 becomes:

c48b4G3 $%$ P3pP3r $%$ 75

75 $%$ P3Pp3R $%$ c4884G3

7 $%$ C4884g3 $%$ P3PP3R $%$ 5

This leads us on to the final section – how to differentiate passwords for different websites.



This section is about abbreviating the name of the website in order to make the password specific to a website.

If you have followed the above guidelines you should have a fairly bulletproof password BUT all you have is ONE password. You need different passwords for each different website you log in to. Fear not however, again there is a simple solution to this predicament.

Abbreviate the website name!  Think of your passwords like a set of colour coded keys. Each key is very similar but its the colour that tells you for which door it belongs to. In the case of passwords the doors are the websites. The colours are the website abbreviations which tell you which site you are accessing. This way you only really need to remember the main bulk of the password phrases but you get added security when each one is made different by adding an abbreviation of the site to the password.

Here are some samples of possible abbreviations: = FB / FABO / fabo / fAbO = TE / TESC / tesc / TeSc  = GO / GOOG / goog / GoOg

Again the idea is to create your own abbreviation format and stick to it.


So by applying all these rules to create  passwords for facebook,  Bebo, Tesco, Photobucket where we will use the following phrases and numbers:

“cabbage”, “pepper” & the number “75

the passwords could be conceived:

75   c4bb4g3   $%$ p3pp3r   $%$ fabo    =   75c4bb4g3$%$p3pp3r$%$ fabo

c4bb4g3   $%$!(   p3pp3r   $%$ bebo 75  =   c4bb4g3$%$p3pp3r$%$ bebo75

7 c4bb4g3   $%$ p3pp3r   $%$ teco 5   =   7c4bb4g3$%$p3pp3r$%$ teco5

75 c4bb4g3   $%$ p3pp3r   $%$ phbu   =   75c4bb4g3$%$p3pp3r$%$ phbu

I hope this has been a help – feel free to ask questions in the comment below.


Author Mark

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