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Creating a strong password

Passwords protect valuable personal information. Identity theft is a growing problem, which makes creating a strong password even more important.

What is a strong password?

  • A strong password should appear as a group of random characters and should not be a word found in the dictionary of any language.
  • A password should be at least 10 characters long. The longer the password, the harder it is for a hacker to guess.
  • Passwords should use a combination of letters, both upper and lower case, numerals and symbols (e.g., ! @ # $ % ^ & *). It's much harder to guess a password made up of a greater variety of characters.
  • Create a password based on words or phrases that are easy for you to remember, but difficult for a hacker to guess.

How do I create a strong password?

  • Think of a phrase that is easy to remember.
    1. Take the line from a favorite song, poem, or the title of a book.
    2. Create a phrase about your home, family, or hobby
    3. Create a humorous, nonsensical phrase that's easy to remember
  • Take the first letter of each word in your phrase to create the string of characters that will become your password
    1. "O swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon that monthly changes in her circled orb" from Romeo and Juliet becomes "Osnbtmtim"
  • Add numbers, and upper and lower case letters to add complexity.
    1. "Osnbtmtim" can become "0snbtMt1M" by substituting a zero for the initial letter "O," making the two m's for moon into upper case, and substitute the number one for the letter "i."
    2. The password is still easy to remember, but it is now much harder for a hacker to break.

Avoid creating passwords using:

  • Dictionary words in any language
  • Words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and abbreviations
  • Sequences or repeated characters (e.g., 1234567, abc123, qwerty)
  • Personal information such as your name, loved-one’s name, birthday or similar information