‘Tis the Season for Creating Strong Passwords

We all know passwords are important. They help keep personal accounts private and secure but many of us are guilty of reusing, rotating, or using notoriously easy passwords, leaving oneself open to an account breach.

Below are 5 guidelines to create a strong password so that you can ensure maximum security for sensitive information: 

  1. 10 characters minimum. The longer the better. A 10-character password takes at least four months to brute force crack, 11 characters takes a decade, 12 characters takes two centuries… So yeah, longer is better. 
  2. Break up common words with random characters. Like a slash after the o in horse, a random number three in between the two ts in battery, or a close bracket before the l in staple. This is a way to use a passphrase which is easier to remember, but makes it much harder to guess. 
  3. Use a number. Put it somewhere beside the beginning or end and don’t use the number one. Most people make a password “secure” by adding a one to the end. Likewise, use another special character besides an exclamation mark–most people use an exclamation mark, and the attackers know this.
  4. Capitalize at random. Yes, capital letters make it harder to crack, but most people just capitalize the first letter. Don’t do that. Capitalize literally any other letter. 
  5. Use a password manager. Free yourself from having to create these passwords yourself. A good password manager will make randomized passwords that are difficult to crack and it takes the pressure off you. 

Source: Tech Republic  

David Coull
Senior Systems Administrator