3 Qualities for Strong Passwords

Posted on May 06, 2019


In order to thrive in the technology world we live in, we need to be sure we are using strong passwords that are extremely difficult to crack. There are 3 qualities to a strong password: length, complexity, and uniqueness.

Length

Length is important because the longer the password is, the harder it is for a program to guess it. Think about it; if your password has 4 characters there are so many possible arrangements of those characters. A computer program can run through the entire range of possibilities in just a few minutes or less. But, a password with 12 characters has vastly more possible arrangements.

Complexity

Still, length of the password is not very helpful if we are only using letters and numbers. This is why we introduce special characters to our passwords, which add the element of complexity. Use special characters or numbers in place of letters such as the @ in place of an A, a $ in place of an S, or 3 in place of an E.

Uniqueness

Finally, length and complexity are worthless if our passwords are not unique. For example, you live in the state of Alabama. The passwords Alabamais#1 or AuburnIsTheBest#1 have length and complexity but would be easy for a hacker to guess. This is why we need to add uniqueness to the equation.

Your passwords should be kept secure at all times. This means we should never share them with anyone. Also, do not write it down on a sticky note and attach it to your monitor or desk. This is the equivalent of taping your house key to the outside of your front door. While you may live in a nice neighborhood with friendly neighbors, you can never be 100% sure of who may show up on your front porch.

Using these helpful hints will guard against intrusion into your personal information. For more tips on protecting your information visit our Information Security page.


Chris Mason, CISSP

Chris Mason, CISSP

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