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Tips for Creating a Good Smartphone Password, PIN, or Pattern

By May 31, 2017No Comments

When it comes to protecting your phone, you have a few options these days. You can set a password, a PIN code or even an unlock pattern. The problem is, the same thing that makes a good password, PIN or pattern hard to crack is the thing that makes it hard to remember.

Wouldn’t it be great to know how to make a good phone password that you can remember, but potential intruders can’t? Wouldn’t you like to know how to create a good unlock pattern that’s tough to guess but easy to remember? Here’s a guide to creating the best cell phone unlock patterns, PINs, and passwords, with a little information on some common unlock pattern ideas and passwords to always avoid.

Password Tricks

The trick to creating a good, memorable password is to make it more than just a word. Make it a phrase. Although you’re encouraged to try to confound hackers by mixing in symbols and capital letters, the truth is that a brute force approach will take these into account as well. However, a very long password requires the hacker go through many more permutations.

Therefore, your best bet is a password phrase, especially one with punctuation like “One if by land, two if by Sea!” Running the whole phrase together, like “Goaheadmakemyday!” can also make a challenging but easy-to-remember password. Avoid common single-word passwords like Password, Love, your name, or the name of someone else close to you.

PIN Tricks

It’s been found that people are way too careless with their PIN codes, because they think as long as the phone is in their possession, no one can take advantage. However, today’s thieves can easily look up information too-frequently used in PIN numbers.

All too commonly, PIN codes are 1111 and 1234 and, of course, birthdays and anniversaries. Two good ways to come up with hard-to-guess but memorable PIN codes are to:

  1. Spell out a word with the numbers corresponding to the letters on your phone keypad. Not an obvious word, though.
  2. Pick a number that’s significant to you, then add 4 (or 3 or 5) to each digit. So, if your birthday is March 3, 1982, take 3382 and add 4 to each digit (rolling over if you go over 10), so your PIN would become 7726.

Pattern Tricks

The most popular patterns are letters like E or F, or common symbols like a star or a square. To make a more complex pattern, try making some of the lines overlap, rather than one unbroken string with nothing crossing. Making sure some of the dots you connect are not immediately adjacent can also help.

To remember the pattern, write the number sequence corresponding to each dot. So, for example, if dot one first connects to dot six and then dot seven, it’s 1-6-7, etc. Keep this number in a safe place without indicating what it is, or encode it by inserting dummy numbers between the real numbers.