For most people, changing passwords is little bit of a pain in the ass. One of the main reasons for this is that so many people have their favorite passwords, and a fear of not being able to remember the new ones. System administrators always suggest using passwords that will be difficult to guess, which inherently, of course, makes them harder to remember. Additionally, it is a good idea to mix both numbers and letters, and use symbols as well, since by doing so it means there are significantly more combinations that a brute force attack has to go through in order to discover the password.
To help with that, I have built the Mnemonic Strong Password Generator. It is built on the principle that it is easier to memorize something if you can hear it than it is to memorize a random string of characters. It generates passwords that are 10-12 characters in length, using numbers, letters, and symbols. However, it presents them in 4-6 simple to digest sound chunks to make it much, much easier to remember what they are.
The 5 symbols used in the generator all have simple names associated with them, even though most people don’t realize this or know them all. The hash symbol (#), for instance, is called “pound”. Many people of course know the “at” symbol (@), from learning how to verbally tell others what their email address is. The exclamation point (!) is also known as a “bang”, which is how it is referred to in typesetting. The asterisk (*) can be referred to as “star” (which people use when talking about phones, but usually not keyboards for some reason). The last one is the hyphen (-), which is also the “dash”.
When using the tool, you should look at the pronunciation, then look right at the password and say it a few times (although of course not where other people can overhear you), training your memory to associate those sounds with the way the password is actually spelled. Some examples of the types of passwords this tool will generate:
Pronunciation: six bang walp kumm forty-three
Pronunciation: u two duge kruz dash four
Pronunciation: zero six krut glev pound star
The tool itself can generate about 9,498,471,450,000 different passwords. I say about because I also filter out a couple of thousand four letter words, since some systems will reject passwords that contain dictionary phrases in them. However, without knowing exactly how I am determining what is and is not pronounceable, a brute force attack (assuming that the attacker knew you used this tool to generate your password in the first place) would have to go through all combinations of a 41 character set in order to guarantee cracking your password. For the 10 character long variety, that means there are 550,329,031,716,248,000 (over 550 quadrillion) different combos, and for 12 characters there would be 925,103,102,315,014,000,000 (over 925 quintillion) (and no, I did not make the names of those numbers up 😛 ).
Now you can easily change your passwords whenever you feel like it with the Mnemonic Strong Password Generator. 😀