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What makes a password strong?

Do you think your password is strong enough? Follow these tips to get the most protection you can with a password. These tips are general purpose and only rely on the letters of the English alphabet and the numbers 0 to 9. Many systems allow the use of punctuation marks, unprintable characters and foreign characters, however; to remain universal, we shall stick to the basics.

Never use words or names as your password
Script kiddies and seasoned hackers always perform a brute force attack. What this means is that they use an automated program to try each of words in the dictionary, common misspellings of words and every name you can think of as a password. Therefore, if you think that using the name of your favorite dog as a password was clever... Think Again!

Change your passwords often
I know it is hard enough to come up with a password that is easy for you to remember and still considered strong, but the more often you change your password the stronger it will be.

Use a combination of upper and lower case letters in your password
Mix them up? be creative. For instance, take the word "dog". A three letter-single case word has 13,824 possible combinations. If we used upper case letters as well, it would increase the security by 110,592 possible combinations. Quite a difference.

Use numbers as part of your password
If we use the previous example of dog, using upper and lower case we get a maximum of 110592 possible combinations. What if we replaced the ?o? in dog to a zero ?0?? This simple change increased the maximum possible combinations to 195112. That little change added over 80,000 more combinations.

Use long passwords
So far, we have used a three-letter password. Easy pickings for a hacker. What if we increased our password to 13 characters like in "mydoghasfleas". Our possible combinations to 84,055,070,416,556,869,132,288. Much better. However, if we look at the first point, which was ?Never use words or names as your password?, you would see that a hacker could crack our password easily.

Use a different password for everything
Do not use one password for everything you do. If you do, once your password is exposed, so are you. The hacker now has access to everything.

Here is my suggestion for creating strong, easy to remember passwords. You can make it stronger or weaker if you prefer, this is just for information uses only.

1) Choose a root password. Make it about five characters. Let us pick "TiMrP". Which stands for ?This is my root password?? Clever isn't it? This root password must never be used on its own. It is too insecure to be a real working password.

2) Concatenate (attach) a unique sub phrase to the root password. For example, if I am setting up a new hotmail account I could take my root password and attach "hMh7LiI" Which stands for "HotMail Has 7 Letters In It" For a completed password of "TiMrPhMh7LiI". Twelve letters long, Upper/Lower case letters, Alphanumeric and no words, names, dates or phrases. With a maximum of 1,449,225,352,009,601,191,936 possible combinations.


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