Creating a Strong Password
Watch a short video on how to create a secure 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 8 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.
- Take the line from a favorite song, poem, or the title of a book.
- Create a phrase about your home, family, or hobby
- 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
- "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.
- "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."
- The password is still easy to remember, but it is now much harder for a hacker to break.
- The password should be 8 to 63 ASCII characters long, and it is highly recommended to use 16 or more.
- Characters that are upper case. ASCII is categorized as Alpha and Numeric characters.
- DO choose each letter or digit at random. Try one-finger typing with your eyes closed.
- DO use a longer password, and write it down somewhere safe. A short password is easier to remember, but also much easier for attackers to guess. It is OK to let your PC save your wireless password so you don't have to remember it.
- DO NOT use anything directly related to you, such as your street address, phone number or car license plate.
- DO NOT use the name of any person or place in your password. The attackers know all the common names.
- DO NOT use any word from the dictionary. The attackers have dictionaries, too.
- DO NOT use a phrase or sentence. Once an attacker learns any portion of the phrase or sentence, the rest is easily guessed.