Uninformed: Informative Information for the Uninformed

Vol 7» 2007.May

Mnemonic Passwords

A mnemonic password is a password that is easily recalled by utilizing a memory trick such as constructing passwords from the first letters of easily remembered phrases, poems, or song lyrics. An example includes using the first letters of each word in a phrase, such as: "Jack and Jill went up the hill," which results in the password "JaJwuth". For mnemonic passwords to be useful, the phrase must be easy for the user to remember.

Previous research has shown[5] that passwords built from phrase recollection like the example above yield passwords with complexity akin to true random character distribution. Mnemonic passwords share a weakness with regular passwords in that users may reuse them across multiple authentication systems. Such passwords are also commonly created using well known selections of text from famous literature or music lyrics. Password cracking dictionaries have been developed that contain many of these common mnemonics.