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Creating Strong Passwords

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 -

With so many services requiring passwords (especially online), it is more important than ever to have strong passwords to keep your important information safe. Think to yourself – if someone gained access to your password protected services what could they do? The answer for many is that it could be devastating to both your business and finances. Having a strong password is one simple way to prevent this problem.

What are bad passwords?


A lot of people make the mistake thinking that choosing a random word or sequence as your password is secure because who else would think of that? While it’s true that you or I would have an impossible time trying to guess it, cyber criminals aren’t just sitting there trying to guess random words for your password. They are running sophisticated computer software tools with databases of hundreds of thousands or even millions of entries that can be rapidly entered in an attempt to find your password. If your password is a dictionary word, a simple sequence or personal information this can be relatively easy to crack.

How do I make a strong password?


There are a few main ways to make a strong password that will be practically impossible to crack. It’s all about adding complexity in as many ways as possible. The more ways of complexity you add to your password the more secure it becomes. Ways to add complexity include:

  1. Using both upper case and lower case characters (eg. mnLoTGc)
  2. Increasing password length. A 10 character password will be much harder to crack than a 5 character password.
  3. Using both numbers and letters (eg. mnLoT3G7c9)
  4. Adding punctuation / symbols (eg. mn?LoT3G7%c9”)

As you use more of these features in your password, it becomes exponentially harder to crack. The most secure passwords use all of these features.

Find out how strong your password is with the free Microsoft password checker at https://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/passwords/checker.aspx

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