How to remember your master password with ease

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Password managers are great.

In fact, it is difficult to imagine a safe online existence without them.

However, they too require a password.

It is called the master password.

And all password managers use it.

Hence, you do not really have any other choice but to remember your master password by yourself.

Here are some tips to remember your master password or any other difficult password for that matter.

Hackers have pushed things a bit too far it seems.

Because of their shenanigans, almost all the sites that one runs into these days has password protection.

It is everywhere.

So how is one supposed to remember all of those passwords?

Well, there is always the option of using the same given password for each and every service and site.

It could be something that you can probably remember very easily.

Something like your date of birth.

But you do not need us to tell you that you are just for that inevitability that someone just comes in and smartly guess your password with the birthday.

And that is it.

If you made the mistake of using the same password on each and every other site then those accounts are gone as well.

Did you know that the internet now has Trojans that are designed to do nothing but steal passwords?

Yes.

These malicious Trojans actually have the ability to slip past all of your antivirus products in order to capture that one important password of yours.

Potentially, just one password can allow such Trojans to breach all of your online supposedly secured sites and hence data.

That is the reason why you should never reuse a password.

Moreover, you must always make use of a unique and complex password for every site that is secure.

By now you must have understood that the one and only practical and efficient way to do that and manage it successfully is with the help of a good password manager.

Our research shows that the best password managers are those that have the ability to work on each and every one of your Internet-enabled devices.

It doesn’t matter what that device is.

A good password manager should work equally well on your desktop computer, your laptop, your tablets as well as your smartphone devices.

Good password managers make use of password generators that always generate unguessable passwords.

No more ‘password123’ passwords anymore.

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A password manager will cook up a rockstar password such as 5$Tql5@ON*6*lfD*id9q.

Not only that, but a password manager will also remember all these hard and impossible-to-remember passwords for you in a safe and secure manner.

What is more, good password managers also automatically input those strong and unfriendly saved passwords to your secured apps and sites in order to log you in quickly and efficiently.

However, there is one problem with using password managers as well that we have not mentioned so far.

Almost all, if not all, password managers have no other choice but to rely on a user-defined master password.

That is the only way a given password manager is able to lock up all of the user’s other passwords and save login information.

And what is true for ordinary passwords is also true for master passwords.

Mainly that the master password should also be totally and completely unguessable.

Why do we say that?

We say that because if anyone gets a hold of your master password then that special someone essentially has access to each and every one of your secured apps and sites.

Now, the problem with a master password is that it not only has to be totally unguessable, it also has to be totally memorable.

And that is hard to do.

Most online consumers do not even want to go to a place where they have to memorize all the gibberish that gushes out of a password manager’s random password generator.

Besides, if you use such a master password and then proceed to forget it then no force on earth can assist you in getting it back.

With that said, there is also a positive side to such a situation.

The fact that your password manager cannot help you get your master password back means that any dishonest employee working at the company does not have the ability to hurt you by breaking into your secured vault.

Moreover, even the likes of the NSA do not have anything to force the password management company to submit user data to them because the company simply does not have anything to give up.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s assume for a second that security-wise you have made all the right decisions.

You have listened to what we have to say and have installed a security suite or at least an antivirus on your machine.

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There is also VPN, or Virtual Private Network, that has the ability to wrap all of your online and network traffic in a protective layer of encryption.

Click here to sign up for the best VPN for security which is IPVanish.

Not only have you not signed up for a VPN, an antivirus product and/or security suite but you have also enlisted the help of a good password manager to manage and deal with that unsightly plethora of passwords.

Even if you have carried out all of these steps, you still must not forget that you need an insanely difficult and secure master password.

One master password in order to lock your ‘good’ password manager.

Now here are all the tips that you can use to select a master password which is not only unguessable but also memorable.

Try to be poetic

Yes.

That is true.

Each and every person in the world has a poetic side to him or her.

In other words, everyone seems to have a favorite poem and/or saying which they know that they are unlikely to ever forget.

We want to tell you that it could be anything really.

From the densest English texts to even religious ones, you can use whatever you feel like using.

The fact, is the verse of the stanza does not really matter.

All of it or some of it can be converted into a password.

Now here is how you go about doing that.

First, start off the process by taking a pen and actually writing down the very first syllable that you find.

If there is a stressed syllable then use a capital letter for it.

Do it for all syllables.

Do not exclude any punctuations.

As mentioned just now, you can take anything you want and turn it into a strong master password.

For example, if you are a fan of street fighter, you could take Akuma’s line “when Akuma walks, he walks alone, when Akuma fights, he fights alone!”

This could become WaW,HwA,wAf,HfA!

For more security, you could also add SfA2 for Street Fighter Alpha 2.

Of course, we’re assuming here that you never forget that Akuma said this in the above-mentioned animated movie.

Similarly, you can also add the year in which it was released, 1999.

Okay, so maybe you do not waste your time in watching animated movies.

Maybe animated movies are not your idea of being poetic.

So let’s turn to something more serious.

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In order to have a stronger meter on our master password, let’s just take each of the first letter that appears in each word and then use the present capitalization and punctuation.

Let’s also start with the quote by Oscar Wilde, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.’

Now, there are so many ways to use this for your master password.

You could choose By,eeiat.

To further increase the difficulty you could also add a difficult but memorable number which essentially rounds out this master password.

Our suggestion is to add Oscar Wilde’s birthdate which is 1854.

Or you could use his death year which was 1900.

Using such guidelines you can make sure that your master password is different in the complete sense of the word to all the examples that we have mentioned here.

So start things off with one of your own favorite quotation or movie quote or anything.

And then begin the process of creating a unique master password via that that no one else in the world is able to guess accurately.

Make use of various passphrases

 

Pundits on strong passwords always give advice on having strong passwords that goes something like this,

  • always include symbols
  • always invalid digits
  • always include lowercase letters
  • always include uppercase letters

So you have four types of characters that security experts want you to make use of.

Their thinking goes that when you expand the pool of different characters, you actually vastly increase the actual time that a hacker would require in order to crack open your password.

However, you should also take note that the sheer length of a given password also serves the purpose of making your password much harder to crack.

Our research shows that one of the best ways to achieve a really long and memorable master password is to make use of a favorite passphrase.

Smart and rather snary webcomic series XKCD actually took the opportunity to aim at various wacky password schemes which suggested users to start a passphrase with a simple and common word while replacing just a few of the letters that appear in the passphrase with numbers that look familiar to the replaced letters.

The same guidelines also suggested that users should make their passphrase stronger by attaching to it some extra characters as well.

All of these rules that surely make the average online consumer wondering things such as whether the passphrase was Gr33n4doR3& or was it Gr33n4dor&3 or maybe it was something like Gr33n30m3&2?

Our research shows that a passphrase such as staple horse battery is correct makes thing much easier for the end user besides the fact that, for hackers, it is significantly harder to hack because of its much larger length.

Such passphrases also have the advantage of being fairly easy to remember.

It is also true that we know quite a few password managers that do not allow any kind of spaces in the user’s master password.

That’s not a problem either.

What you can do is that instead of using space you can replace it with a character like an equals sign or hyphen in order to separate your different words.

One other pro-tip that you should start following is of not using a character which requires you press your keyboard shift key.

Moreover, try to pick words which naturally do not go with each other.

After that, invent an image or mnemonic story to link to your words.

So try and picture something for a passphrase like scream-joke-charity-butter?

Now, of course, there would be users who would initially find it difficult to come up with a bunch of unrelated and strange words to use in their passphrase.

For this reason, the internet provides you with online passphrase generators.

There are many good ones.

One of the most reputable ones goes by the apt name of correcthorsebatterystaple.net.

Some of you may reasonably worry about making use of a passphrase that someone else’s program has generated.

For such cases, you can easily use the tool to generate a multiple number of passphrases and then clip from each of them the first word.

Combine those individual words to have a strong passphrase that is unique.

Want a better password? Make it longer

Steve Gibson, a veteran PC maven recently suggested that the only secret to having strong and long passwords is a thing called padding.

Let’s explain that a little bit.

If a given hacker is not able to hack your password by making use of simple means including a dictionary attack then the only other resource the hacker has is to make use of brute-force scan.

In this scan, the hacker tries out all possible combinations of passwords.

Because of this technique, security experts believe that each and every added character makes any attempt from the hacker to crack a password massively more complex and difficult.

Steve Gibson also happens to have an official website that offers users just like you a tool called Search Space Calculator.

What does this tool do?

This tool essentially analyzes any password that you give it by basing it on the type of characters that you have used in the entered password and more importantly the length of the given password.

Our research shows that this tool returns the approximate amount of time it would take a hacker to use a brute-force attack in order to crack open the password.

You should note here that this tool is not exactly a meter for password strength.

That is something else.

The Search Space Calculator is more of a meter for cracking time.

Perhaps we should also mention that it is quite instructive to actually observe how the time to crack a password goes up whenever you take the time to lengthen your password.

We’re not saying that we like to watch other people when they are in the process of inputting their passwords, however, we have noticed that a good number of you folks tend to put three exclamation points at the end of your password based on hand motions.

We suggest that you should not consider this as padding.

Firstly, the problem with this is that it requires the user to press the shift key.

Secondly, it is also true that the password becomes just a bit too predictable.

In fact, it would not surprise us if it turns out that hackers have already developed a cracking toolkit which takes care of the !!! problem via their new dictionaries.

Instead of doing that, we recommend that you should select two keys which are close at hand and then alternate.

Then add something new to your password such as bzbzbzbzbz.

You also have the option of selecting a total of three characters such as qweqweqweqwe.

If you are satisfied with the calculator on Gibson’s website then the tool clearly mentions that it would take over a total of 45 years even for a massive cracking array to actually crack a password that goes something like ?BdWdYtLw,Sb.

You do not need to know how we came up with that password.

However, if you just add bzbzbzbzbz at the end of it, you actually increase the 45 years time to over a quadrillion centuries.

Keep is strong, memorable and long.

So after you have taken the time out to invest in a good online password manager and have also converted all of your login information to make use of unique and strong passwords, the single password that you would still need to remember is your master password that opens up that special password manager vault of yours.

Keep in mind that your master password opens everything up.

Hence you really out to spend some time in thinking about a good master password and then making it difficult to guess but easy to remember.

So go ahead.

Take your time and then come up with an uncrackable and unguessable master password.

As mentioned before as well, you can have your master password based on a famous quote, poem or even a movie.

Take that and develop a passphrase.

Then link all the unrelated works with a story or image that is memorable.

After that apply some easy-to-type but important padding.

Once you follow these simple steps you will become a master at developing master passwords which are not only uncrackable but also memorable.

 

Zohair

Zohair

Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.

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