It has been more than a year since I strongly encouraged you to start using a Password Manager to make better passwords. I feel sure that only a few of you have taken me up on this suggestion, and I still strongly believe you need to do that. If you aren’t one of them, please go back and read that article.
There are, however, some places where you may have to type in a password. Your master password for a Password Manager (such as LastPass) is one such place. Recently some researchers from the University of California published some information on making great passwords (a PDF file) that are easier to remember, very hard to crack, and reasonably easy to type (especially on a mobile device). In addition to their research article, there’s a thorough overview in the Washington Post. I’ll give the short description here so you can get right to making a better master password.
The key principal is this: random words combine to make a silly rhyme. In fact, that phrase describing how to do it is a decent password. Humans are better at memorizing items that rhyme – we learned this as kids. The randomness on a small scale also makes us put a little effort into it – that helps us with the memorization as well. That password is far easier to memorize and type than something like “dF8*(u7tjk+G” – and is similar in difficulty when it comes to being cracked by an automated program.
A password such as my rhyming example should be accepted by most password managers. If your password manager doesn’t like spaces, just replace with periods, commas, slashes, or dashes.
Here are some others to help you with your own creation:
Racing car paints the wall, when crawling down crying hall.
The researchers also put together a website that generates sample password poems to help you even more!