Capital A, epsilon, underscore, star, numeral four. Lower-case a, capital Q, umlaut. That is not actually my password – that wouldn’t be acceptable these days. Anything less than 15 characters long not featuring capital letters, symbols and ancient Greek, simply will not do!
You need a password for everything these days. I need to remember about 10 of them before I even get out of bed. I have different ones for my work PC, my banking apps, my various email accounts. I need one to access my coffee card, the photocopier, my discounts at Marcs… it’s driving me nuts!
Passwords need to be so complex!
I have noticed that increasingly, these passwords need to be very complex, requiring a certain length (when did this become a whopping eight characters?) and a variety of upper and lower case letters, numerals and symbols.
The University of Texas says, “Hackers have become increasingly sophisticated at password ‘cracking’. What may have been considered a strong password a year ago may now be considered an open window to your computer.”
Pfft! It’s so bloody hard these days!
I should be working on improving the functioning of my brain!
That’s right – memory can be worked on, by focusing on exercises that build up your hippocampus. This part of your brain is located deep within your temporal lobe. It plays an important role in converting short-term memories (STMs) to long-term memories (LTMs). If you didn’t have it, you couldn’t live in the present, you’d be stuck in the past. It’s also responsible for associative learning and your spatial memory.
Get your brain fit and work on your memory
Aerobic exercise bulks up your hippocampus, and may even improve memory in older adults. As we age, our brain shrinks, and scientists believe that by exercising we can stop or slow this from happening. A research team found that adults aged 55 to 80 years old who walked around a track for 40 minutes three days a week for a year increased the volume of their hippocampus. The hippocampus also shows signs of trauma when Alzheimer’s disease is identified.
Trouble remembering passwords? Well, have you tried Chunking?
Another technique that could benefit your hippocampus is ‘chunking’; a technique which is said to improve your STM. Chunking is the process of organising material into groups, in order to increase the STM’s capacity, which is limited. An example of this is remembering phone numbers as chunks of digits, rather than a string of numerals (it’s easier to remember 0400 378 654 than it is 0400378654). Chunking can be a useful technique when studying: to be most effective, you should break up study sessions into manageable chunks, focusing on groups of similar tasks.
Creating memorable passwords
Another method some people use is to create a phrase they will remember. “I like vegan food” becomes Ilkvegfd.
Wikihow also gives this suggestion:
Connect the first letters of a sentence. Develop a password using the first letters of a sentence or phrase that means something to you – like your national anthem or a slogan you have seen somewhere. “Don’t shop for it, Argos it” would become “DsfiAi”.
What techniques do you use to remember passwords? How many passwords do you need to remember in a typical day?