How to use password cards to help remember your master passwords

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 09:01 pm

We’re all told how important it is to use a strong password, but unfortunately it tends to be one of those things that unless it happens to us, we don’t take it seriously. The majority of people use very weak passwords and reuse them on multiple websites.

Password reusing is a massive problem and we see this with the constant password leaks that occur each year. This not only happens to the smaller websites, but to the larger websites.

When there is a password leak, these often contain login information such as the username, email address and the password. Someone with this information can simply try these details on multiple websites to try and gain entry to your online account.

To prevent your password from being leaked, you need to use a unique password on every website you sign up to; including mobile apps. Your password should be long, contain numbers and sumbols and also be unpredictable.

How I manage passwords

The bulk of my passwords are stored safely in Bitwarden, my choice of password manager. Bitwarden is open source and supports End-to-end encryption, secure password sharing, cross-platform accessibility and much more.

How I remember my Bitwarden password

Having a strong password for your password manager is a must, but for me the challenge is remembering this password. My typical passwords look like the following:

cleat-overstate-mossy-hemlock-tj1!A

I like to use random words seperated with a dash and at the end I add in randomised characters and numbers. This works well when storing the passwords in Bitwarden as I don’t really need to remember these passwords.

I must admit, I am terrible at remembering things; so remembering a password like the one above is a massive no no for me. I needed something easier for me to remember and to also carry around with me as my Bitwarden app at times would log me out. This is how my little password cards came about; below is my guide on how to use them.

The Guide – Password Cards

Step 1 – The Words

You need to decide on how many words you want included on your card. For me, I went with 26 + the additional characters at the end. You can have completely random words, or like me use some sort of theme. For this guide I went with a Marvel theme using Marvel names. The names I went with are as follows

(1) groot (2) strange (3) vision (4) banner (5) falcon
(6) starlord (7) okoye (8) rocket (9) gamora (10) yondu
(11) loki (12) odin (13) thanos (14) widow
(15) drax  (16) hawkeye (17) fury (18) heimdall
(19) destroyer (20) nebula (21) pepper (22) valkyrie 
(23) coulson (24) hulk (25) thor (26) panther -M!V1

Step 2 – The Letters & Numbers

Now that you have all your words in place, you now need to copy the letters + numbers from below

A(01) B(02) C(03) D(04) E(05) F(06) G(07) H(08) I(09) J(10) K(11) L(12) M(13) N(14) O(15) P(16) Q(17) R(18) S(19) T(20) U(21) V(22) W(23) X(24) Y(25) Z(26)

Step 3 – How it works

Taking Bitwarden as an example, I do not want to remember something such as ‘cleat-overstate-mossy-hemlock-tj1!A’ to gain access to my Bitwarden.

What I will do is come up with a simple name. For this tutorial, lets say the name is ‘ELF‘.

What we do now, is find the letter E from the code section at the bottom, so E will show as ‘E(05)‘, we will look at the words we selected in Step 1 and find 5, the word associated with 5 is ‘falcon‘. We now have our first word.

Lets look up the letter L, which is showing as ‘L(12)’ and we now look for number 12 which has the word ‘odin‘. We now have our second word.

Now look up our final letter which is F, which is showing as ‘F(06)‘ and we now look for number 6 which has the word ‘starlord‘.

So our password is now falconodinstarlord, which still isn’t secure enough. So for me, I make all my words, as default have a dash. My password will now be falcon-odin-starlord.

Now from my words, if you noticed at the end I have added -M!V1. I add this to my password as well, this just ensure that if the password manager requires a capital or number, then it will have it. It also makes the password a little more complex.

(1) groot (2) strange (3) vision (4) banner (5) falcon
(6) starlord (7) okoye (8) rocket (9) gamora (10) yondu
(11) loki (12) odin (13) thanos (14) widow
(15) drax  (16) hawkeye (17) fury (18) heimdall
(19) destroyer (20) nebula (21) pepper (22) valkyrie 
(23) coulson (24) hulk (25) thor (26) panther -M!V1

So my finished password is now ‘falcon-odin-starlord-M!V1‘. All I need to do is remember that my Bitwarden password is ELF and I can easily work out what my real password is using my password card.

If you continue to use this guide, I’d recommend that you also add in the extra characters at the end and be creative with the name.

For the password I used above, it would take a computer about one hundred octillion years to crack. You can test your own password here.

Ensure you print and also make several copies and store them safely. Please also ensure with any service you use, turn on 2FA. Click here to learn about 2FA.

You can make your password card as large as you want to include more words. For me, I wanted mine small enough for my wallet. Enjoy

See also

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