How to remember multiple
Using a Code Splash to hide
passwords in plain sight
By Rick Kunze
For a while now I've been meaning to make this page, to share with you a
method for remembering passwords. With this little trick, you can carry
with you at all times multiple passwords in plain text without anyone else
knowing the passwords. It's not foolproof, but it provides a high degree of
camouflage. Use at your own risk, your mileage may vary.
But for years now this has been the way I've carried my passwords with me.
- With today's sophisticated hacking attempts, you can no longer use
language words in your passwords. If you do, it's only a matter of time
before they'll be hacked.
- The best way to make a "crack-resistant" password is to MIX IT UP!
It needs to be random numbers, letters, and symbols with mixed upper/lower
- Make your passwords at least 8 characters long, I personally use nothing
less than 10 characters.
- With this technique below, you can easily achieve a high degree of
security without having to keep a readable note revealing your passwords.
- And the best part is that the "cheat sheet" is displayed in plain view
right on your keyboard all the time.
Here's how to do it.
- First, open up a text editor, it's best to use plain text and a
fixed/monospaced font such as Courier. Using a word processor with
proportional fonts won't work very well. You want a monospaced font so
that each line has the same number of characters and is exactly the same
- Next, pound out a few lines of random text, a "code splash", to contain
upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols. Note that only certain
symbols are "legal" for passwords. You can't use certain symbols in
some operating systems, but you're usually safe with
the underscore_, the hyphen-, the exclamation point !, the pound sign #, the
ampersand @, and the carrot ^. I'd recommend you don't push it beyond
those to be safe. To be safer, remove the ampersand as some systems
disallow an email address for a password, and the existence of an ampersand
could make the system think it's an email address.
- Here is an example of such a code splash, I'm switching to a monospaced
font for this part:
- You'll notice that by using a monospaced font such as Courier each line
will be exactly the same length, with exactly the same number of characters
in each line. This is important.
- The only part left is to choose the geometry of your password. By
picking a horizontal line, a vertical, a diagonal, or a combination thereof,
you can make a password that is totally concealed within the splash.
For example, new password #1 is as follows:
- Pretty good password right? But how can you possibly remember it?
Easy. I've noticed over the years that we are pretty good at
remembering geometric patterns. Your new password was just such a
- Your password is the shape of a carrot symbol ^ that starts
with the lower case h on the bottom line. Imagine how long it would
take someone to figure that out?
- As you can see, the possibilities are as endless as your ability to
remember the pattern. The larger the splash the better.
- Print out the code splash (not the one revealing the password in red
above!) and then cut it out with scissors and overlay it onto your keyboard
covered with transparent tape. Make several of them if you need to,
one for each of your devices, maybe one for your wallet or purse too.
That way your passwords are always with you. DON'T USE THIS ONE FROM
MY EXAMPLE, if you do you'll reduce your security by several orders of
magnitude. (Because chances are good that several people will use it
anyway!) At least change SOME of the characters, if not all. In
fact, make it twice as long, with twice as many lines; even better!
- Another handy trick comes into play over time. As you use your new
password(s) over time, you'll tend to memorize them permanently. For
example, let's say you've made 4 passwords with varying geometric patterns
on the same code splash. Let's call them P1, P2, P3, and P4.
(Password 1, password 2, etc.) Over time you'll memorize these, and
since they're so complex, you won't have to change them under normal
circumstances. They can be used for YEARS. In this way, down the
road when you need yet another password, instead of creating a new fifth
password, you can easily mix it up a little. In the password
above, make a slight alteration such as a capital C for the second
character. Then you just make a note to yourself that P5 is; "P1 w/cap
C". It is password P1 with a capital C. With just that small
note, a note that would mean nothing to anyone else, you'll know what P5 is
because by then you'll have memorized P1.
Trust me, this may seem complicated, but over time you'll have a highly
complex password system that is in plain sight all the time. I've used the
same code splash for a good 10 years now. It works great. To greatly
increase the size of the code splash, you can use the same one 4 times like
Note that if
"X" is the whole code splash, this large one is simply XX with the original
password in bold.
character password is shown in red: 6Md^Btwj_3
The larger the splash, the greater the security and the
greater the number of combinations. Hard to beat.
Hope this helps.