In previous posts, I have written about passwords and how to overcome the perennial problem of how to create a password that is secure yet memorable. The trick I like is to find a name that you’ll never forget and apply a few encryption tricks to it.

Suppose you love the television program, Downton Abbey.

First, create some rules. For example, a space is always a dollar sign; an “A” is an @; and an “o” is a %.

So, Downton Abbey becomes, D%wnt%n$@bbey. That’s tough to decode.

But suppose your favorite store (Amazon, for example) gets hacked. You probably have less to worry about on Amazon because they will probably clean up their act pretty quickly. But you might have a string of problems because you may have used your password on a number of other sites.

A colleague, Linda Link, had an excellent idea. She suggests making your passwords unique for every site with a system that might look like this:

  1. Pick a letter to start your passwords (such as “B”).
  2. Add a non-alphanumeric key (such as “*”).
  3. Now add the first four letters of the site. For example, “TARG” for Target.
  4. Now add your cryptic password.

So your password for Target would be:


Unique for Target. Highly cryptic. And once you know your system, fairly easy to remember.