Tip

Mnemonic-based passwords

Mnemonic-based passwords

This tip was submitted to the searchSecurity Tip Exchange by user Mark Farrar. Let other users know how useful it is by rating the tip below.

One of my interests is mnemonics (i.e. memory training techniques), and there is a relatively-little known technique called the Figure Alphabet. This Figure Alphabet allows numbers to be converted into words, and its original purpose was to enable you to remember numbers by converting them into something more tangible and, consequently, easy to remember. You can find out more at

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http://freespace.virgin.net/mark.farrar1/mnefa01.htm, if you are interested.

However, the Figure Alphabet may also be used "backwards," i.e. words can be converted back into a number, and the system will always generate the same number for the same word.

My tip, therefore, is to use any password that is easy to remember for you (e.g. your wife's name) and convert it, using this Figure Alphabet, into a number.

As an example, my wife's name is Carol Farrar, which would convert into the number 745844, which is just as easy to remember but much harder to guess.

I know this sounds complicated, but the Figure Alphabet takes all of half an hour to learn -- at most! -- and it is a useful tool for daily life and work, as well.


This was first published in September 2001

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