login.jpgAs we’ve learnt from following the news, simple passwords like 123456 aren’t the safest. On the other hand, if you pick a safe password with both letters and numbers, you’ll end up forgetting it. You can’t have your cake and eat it. Or can you? We’ll show you how you can use secure passwords on sites without ever having to write them down to remember them… James Bond style.

Method 1: converting simple words to secure gibberish

What you’ll need to remember: the URL of your favorite website

  1. Get the URL of your favorite website. Attention: use just the domain name part to avoid confusion later! You’ll thank me for that, trust me. Valid examples are google.com and google.co.uk. Bad: http://google.com, google.com/ and Google.com.
  2. Open this site. Enter the domain name in the “Input” field.
  3. What we’re going to do is convert your domain name into an md5 hash. All we need to know about the md5 algorithm is that it’s commonly used to encrypt data.
  4. Hit the “Create MD5″ button.
  5. Take the first eight characters from the “MD5 hash” field and use it as your new secure password.

Obviously, it will take you a few weeks to remember this much securer password. Whenever you forget your password, repeat the above process to recover it. No need to write that password down!

Method 2: your favorite MP3 is the key

hashtab.jpgWhat you’ll need: an MP3 file

  1. Download HashTab. Ryan explains how it works here.
  2. Go find your favorite MP3 on your computer and pull up its parent folder in Windows Explorer or Safari.
  3. Right-click the MP3, select Properties and go to the File Hashes tab. Mac users: select File Hashes from the right-click menu.
  4. Look for the MD5 hash, right-click the entry and select Copy. This hash is a unique identifier for your file.
  5. Again, take the first eight characters from the hash and use it as your new secure password.

Just like with method 1, you can follow these steps to recover your password until you’ve learned it by heart. Remember to never alter your MP3 in any way, otherwise the MD5 hash will change and this little trick will no longer work.

Image credit: Curious Findings