Selecting a strong password that’s easy to remember and hard to break

I use Clipperz as my online password manager, and it comes with an easy option to generate strong, secure passwords. I generate one for each site and forget about memorizing it, since that’s what a password manager’s job is. But there are some passwords I don’t put there, such as my bank’s and my laptop’s. I’ve come up with a simple and effective way to come up with a password that is both strong and easy to remember.

Here’s how it works: pick a song that’s currently ear-wormed its way into your head. For this example, I’m picking Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Pick a few lines from the song, such as these:

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?

Now take the first letter of each word in those lines: 

ittrlitjf

Since most websites insist on a mix of special characters and numbers, let’s add a comma after the first line, and a question mark at the end, just like in the song:

ittrl,itjf?

Now to get numbers, convert a few characters to l33t speak. I usually map A to 4, E to 3, I to 1, and O to 0.  Let’s also capitalize the ‘F’ in ‘fantasy‘ to add some strength to the password. That gives us:

1ttrl,1tjF?

And we’re done! You can make the password as long as you need it to be by adding subsequent lines, and strengthen it further with different combinations of easy-to-remember special characters in the right places. But the general principle remains the same. I tested that password out on https://howsecureismypassword.net/ and it said this:

It would take a desktop PC about 7 thousand years to crack your password

I usually hum the song along as I type the password, so it ties into muscle memory pretty soon. I don’t usually run out of good songs, so for the 2-3 passwords that I have to remember, this method works pretty well.