In this article, we are going to talk about 6 things you can do if you forget your password. Forgetting your password sucks. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. No matter how smart we think we are, there’s always that one time that we forget our password. Obviously, the best thing to do is to NOT forget your password. But there are at least 6 things you can do to help future self for when you inevitably forget your password.
In most cases, a simple forgot password link is enough to get you through. Sure, it’s a little annoying, all the different hoops you have to go through in order to restore or change your password, but in the end, all is not lost because you regain access to your account.
If you haven’t set up 2 factor authentication on your accounts, that is an excellent way to mitigate forgetting your password. Not only does it make it harder for others to gain access to your account, but having a different way to authenticate usually means that if you forget your password, you can easily verify your identity because you’ll most likely have a badge, fingerprint, face, etc.
Having a good password hint is another way to help you remember your password. Obviously, you don’t want you password hint to be super simple, but if a website allows you to provide a password hint, you should create something that is unique enough to trigger your memory, but not easy enough that anyone can figure it out.
A lot of websites / accounts don’t typically ask for password hints, but many do ask you for security questions. If a website gives you the option to set up security questions, you should take advantage and create strong password questions answers. A few years ago, there was a popular Facebook thread that asked you personal questions such as what street you grew up on, the name of your pet, your favorite color, etc. Do these sound familiar? They should because those are common security questions. When setting up security questions, answer them in a unique way where even if someone does know the street you grew up on, they can’t easily bypass your security. For example, instead of answering with just the street name, you can answer with a phrase such as “ I grew up on X street”. Makes it a little harder for people to guess your phrase even if they actually know what street you grew up on.
Utilizing a password manager is a great and cheap alternative to writing down or memorizing hundreds of passwords. Password managers integrate into your devices and help you when you need to authenticate. Utilizing a password manager will most likely make you forget your passwords as you don’t type them in as often, but these services are very secure and will allow you to access your accounts without worrying about remembering your passwords.
And the method you were probably hoping would go first, there is free password cracking software out there that can hack passwords. If a website is set up correctly, options 1–4 will almost always get you out of a bind, but if you absolutely cannot access a website and you need access, I’d recommend you take a look at password hacking tools such as Johntheripper. I would advise against resorting to this option as you really need to know what you are doing here. Obtaining the software can be a bit tricky, but if you can safely obtain the software, then actually cracking a password can be a breeze. Most websites and accounts are getting smarter with respect to protecting themselves against password cracking software. For example, by placing a password limit before locking an account or remotely wiping a device after too many failed attempts makes it harder for folks to crack passwords. In the end, I highly recommend you utilize one of the first 5 options to help protect yourself from a forgotten password.
And that’s it. Those are 6 easy things you can do if you forget your password. Obviously, the best thing you can do is NOT to forget your password. But things happen and at least now you know that there are 6 different things that you can do in order to minimize the impact of a forgotten password.