The average person enters 10 online passwords per day. If someone were to get hold of your password, what would they have access to? If someone obtained the password to your personal email account, they might be able to download your holiday snaps, find out what you really think about your job, and figure out your other passwords by entering your email address on other websites, and clicking on "I forgot my password".
Some services, like Google Accounts, combine mail with other services like Google Drive, Google Analytics, and social sharing platforms like Picasa and Google+. One password gives someone access to all of this. Not only are your emails now compromised, but your business' adwords account is open to sabotage, and anything you've shared online with selected friends is no longer private.
It is vitally important to not make hackers' lives easier by using the same password online for everything. You should also steer away from common password choices, like your date of birth, wedding anniversary, mother's maiden name, or a pet's name. These pieces of information are easily obtainable to people, and hackers will try these.
It can be arduous to think up a password that is going to be both secure and memorable. Try one of the following tips for some ideas on how to come up with seemingly meanless strings of random characters, that mean something to you.
Use memorable phrases
Think of something that will be memorable to you - like "I love New York in the Summer".
Now take the first letter of every word.
This becomes "ilnyits".
You could try using the first two letters of each word. This would give you "iloneyointhsu".
Now try capitalising the first letter of every two:
Take two memorable words
Another trick is to take two words that mean something to you, and combine them. For example, the words "London" and "Hotel" might mean something to you. By combining these in different ways, we can come up with many different passwords.
"letohnodnol" is London Hotel backwards.
"LHoontdeoln" is created by merging the two words together, with one letter from each in an alternating sequence.
"10nd0n40t31" is the two words combined, but with some letters replaced with numbers that are similar.
Use codes to secure your memorable date passwords
You can use some simple tricks to make your memorable date password extremely secure. Say your memorable date is 25/07/1971, this would normally give you a password of 25071971. You need to add some letters, so you add your initials to the end to make it 25071971TL. This is quite guessable to hackers, so try this:
For every number in your password, enter all of the letters that are directly below that number on the keyboard. This way, 25071971 becomes:
"2wsX5tgb0P7ujM1qaZ9oL7ujM1qaZTL" this is a very secure looking password! For even more security, I have capitalised every letter that comes before a number, and the initials at the end. To take this a step further, you could replace the numbres with their respective symbols on the keyboard.
Remove vowels from phrases to create random looking letter strings
"I like playing sports" would therefore become "Ilkplyngsprts"
"The Godfather is my favourite movie" becomes "ThGdfthrsmyfvrtmv"
Shift letters around
Try using the letters that are one ahead of the letters in your password alphabetically. For example, if your password contains a b, you type c.
"Thisisfun" becomes "Uijtjtgvo", or if you replace the letters with the ones that come previously in the alphabet you get "Sghrhretm"
Alternatively, you could go back to tricks on the keyboard again. I got "Bhmsmsfnu" by typing the letter at the bottom, when my letter is at the top (e.g. T is at the top, so I hit B) and by keeping letters if they are on the middle row.
These passwords may seem difficult to remember, but you have to keep in mind that you are not trying to remember the secure password initially. Eventually, entering "2wsx5tgb0p7ujm1qaz9ol7ujm1qaz" into the password field will become something that you don't even need to think about, but initially, all you have to remember is your wedding date and to press all the letters below each digit!