Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Passwords for polyglots

Consider these basic cybersecurity tips:

  • Create strong passwords for your computing devices and online services, like bank and social media accounts.
  • Regularly change your passwords (e.g. once ever 3 months)

This might sound like an annoying habit to need to develop, but you can make it interesting, if not fun. You can develop passwords that are easy to remember. You might even learn something while you’re at it.

Some background: I speak and read four languages, three of which are Romance languages (Italian, French and Spanish). I sometimes find myself using my knowledge of one Romance language to discern the meaning of a word in another language (or even English, which imported many words from both Latin and the Romance languages that grew out of Latin).

My password idea?

  1. Think of a common word in your native language.
  2. Learn that word in at least two other languages.
  3. Put those three (or more) words in sequence.
  4. Separate the words using either numbers or punctuation marks.

Here’s what this looks like:

  1. I’ll use the word glass.
  2. In French, the word is verre and in Italian, it’s vetro.
  3. My sequence: vetroglassverre.
  4. My password: vetro1glass$verre.

Thanks to freely available dictionaries on the Internet, you don’t actually need to speak other languages to use this method.

This tip can slow hackers down if they use “dictionaries” to try to crack your password IF said dictionaries use only one language and variants of spellings in that language.

Do you have other password-creation ideas that are simple, yet create strong passwords? Feel free to share them in the comments below.