The Heartbleed Bug is the ultimate web nightmare; our online lives exposed and vulnerable to attack. Suddenly, the name of our first pet can no longer protect us, even if we put a number 1 at the end. We must now change all of our passwords for online accounts. Not only that, the passwords all have to be different and complex.
How can we possibly remember everything? What if every day is a constant cycle of forgotten passwords and security questions?
In a recent interview with the BBC, inventor of Mind Mapping and founder of the World Memory Championships, Tony Buzan, shared his tips on memorising complex passwords. Here’s what you need to know…
How to memorise your passwords
Making something memorable is all about using the power of association and location.
In order to remember a string of online passwords, all you have to do is associate each individual letter and number with something else. The more you stimulate and use your imagination, the more connections you will be able to make, and the more you will be able to memorise.
Say, for example, my password is:
Take the first letter; what do you associate it with? It could be a word beginning with that letter, or perhaps the shape of the letter resembles something else.
S = snake (it begins with the same letter and a snake can rememble the shape of the letter S)
You need to visualise this as clearly as possible. Picture a snake curling into the shape of that letter. Do that with each of the characters in your password, such as:
4 = a flamingo with one leg bent against the other (forming the shape of the number 4)
8 = an hourglass
5 = hive (rhyming is another good technique you can use)
Once you have come up with vivid associations for each character in your password, you need to link them together so that you can remember the correct order. To do this, you can create a story that incorporates each character/image.
A snake (S) slithering across the sand, spots a flamingo (4) proudly standing in the shallows of a watering hole. It begins its approach, going for the kill, and time is now slowly trickling away for the flamingo, like sand in an hourglass (8). But then, the snake accidently knocks against a fallen beehive (5) hidden in the grass and hundreds of bees come swarming out, scaring the snake away.
Yes, it’s ridiculous; but the more strange and imaginative you can make the story, the more likely you are to remember it. It’s a simple, but effective technique. Give it a try and start exercising your creative muscles!
Want to know more about how you can improve your memory? You can learn directly from Tony Buzan on his ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor in Memory courses.
ThinkBuzan Update: After the Heartbleed security vulnerability was announced last week, all of our critical services were patched within hours of the announcement, with patches following immediately afterwards for less critical areas.
As a precaution, we would recommend you log into your iMindMap account and change your password at app.iMindMap.com. Simply go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Account Password’.