A strong password is an essential part of your online security but trying to remember complex characters can be difficult, and using a random jumble of letters and numbers actually is not even that secure. Researchers have found that the most secure password you can create is actually a little poem made of random words, which could take millions of years to crack and are also easy to remember. Win win.
Finding the ultimate password has been a bit of a Holy Grail. Those that are complex, like P@5sw0/] can be tricky to remember, while those like Password1234 are a cinch to guess. You might think you are being smart by replacing letters in your passwords with numbers and symbols but a computer program can solve it in a matter of minutes. Plus, if you're using variations on a complex password to use on different sites (which is what you should be doing, by the way) then it can tie you up in knots.
The solution comes from researchers at the University of California who claim to have found the perfect password using a combination of random words in a mini rhyming poem, which is both easy to remember and something that a computer would have to run billions upon billions of variations before it got the right one.
Using poetry to get the perfect password
What these little pieces of protecting prose look like are below and the university has a webpage where you can try out generating random poems that could have cyber security experts waxing lyrically:
A wealthy passageway anyway
the Belgian model Chevrolet
The senior window calculate
remained discreetly motivate
They come from an idea of Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight who assigned every word in a 327,628-word dictionary a unique code, then used a program to generate a long code, which is translated into short phrases when broken up. The computer also ensures the two lines end in rhyming words and is arranged in an iambic pentameter. Essentially this long code is a 60-bit string that would otherwise be tough to remember, unless it was translated into rhyme.
Other examples thrown up by the Ghazvininejad & Knight system included:
Creating absolute controls
Or doing industry consoles
Reliant bombers emphasised
Delivers seldom scrutinised
If you're not the poetic type and can't think of a good rhyme, worry not as they have set up a system whereby you contact an email address (link here) and you're sent your very own generated poem password, which is then immediately deleted from their server. They might sound a bit odd but they are surprisingly easy to remember and the good news is they could take five million years to crack according to the inventors' calculations.
The only problem with this elegant security solution is the fact some websites have a character limit on their password input field. However we tried it sites, such as Gmail and Twitter, and it worked no problem.