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How To Create Strong Passwords

December 13, 2010

 

In light of the Gawker account and password breach/hack, I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone that security starts at home. As a user, you should be the first line of defense.  Below are some tips on how to create strong passwords.

I’m a big fan of recycling, but not when it comes to passwords. I know it’s a pain, but an easy way to protect yourself from multiple account fallout is by using different passwords for each account. Also, if you keep a list of accounts and passwords, do it old school using paper and ink and keep it in a safe or safe deposit box.

To an attacker, a strong password should appear to be a random string of characters.

Password Tips

  • Make it long.  8 or more characters in length; 16 characters or longer is ideal.
  • By using the space bar in passwords, so you can create a phrase made of many words (a “pass phrase”). A pass phrase is often easier to remember than a simple password and harder to hack.
  • Combine letters, numbers, and symbols. A 15-character password composed only of random letters and numbers is about 33,000 times stronger than an 8-character password composed of characters from the entire keyboard.
  • Use the entire keyboard, not just the most common characters. Symbols typed by holding down the “Shift” key and typing a number are very common in passwords. Your password will be much stronger if you choose from all the symbols on the keyboard, including punctuation marks not on the upper row of the keyboard, and any symbols unique to your language.
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