May 6, 2016

Tips for Choosing a Secure, Easy-to-Remember Password

Tips for Choosing a Secure, Easy-to-Remember Password

password clip art 1How many @’s, %’s and other crazy symbols are in your password right now?

Are these crazy symbols really all that necessary?

The answer is . . . yes and no.   Yes, requiring us to “use at least one character and at least one number” does increase, by a significant factor, the number of possible passwords—thereby making your personal choice harder to crack.   But there is another quality of passwords, besides how many different types of characters it contains.   This quality is even more significant in improving your password’s security.   Can you guess what it is?

The only thing that really influences your password strength is its length!  Not whether it has oodles of combinations of numbers, letters, and other doodads that are bound to confuse your employees.

This bears repeating:

The longer your password is, the more secure it is.
The longer your password is, the more secure it is.

Hackers may try to “dictionary-crack” an 8-character password, but a 16-character password is not worth their time—even if that long password has correctly spelled words.

Examples of good passwords:

A phrase you can easily remember:

[column lg=”6″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]

You’re my only hope.
Up the waterspout.
His burden is light.
I love 79c tacos!
[column lg=”6″ md=”12″ sm=”12″ xs=”12″ ]


The ones with spaces are more secure, because they are longer, but not all software considers spaces an acceptable character. Remember: these work because they are LONG. Never used correctly-spelled words for short passwords.

Four nonrelated words strung together:

Choose four words in a row that normally wouldn’t be put together.   For example:


Say it often and you have it down, but it would be very difficult for another person to guess it. More importantly, its length also makes it hard for computer software to guess it.

A phrase that describes something you can easily picture:

Red sunset in SC.
7 dancing monkeys.
Joe’s old yellow car.

An “almost-acronym” from a phrase you know: use a mix of initials and words

You’reMOhope! while you think of “You’re my only hope”
Theibsclimbed. while you think of “The itsy bitsy spider climbed”
04aThTtS while you think “Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

If you use this method, make it easy on your mind by having a personal policy, such as:

“I always use initials for all words except the last word,” or
“I always use the number 5 in place of the letter S”
“I always omit the vowels,” or
“I always spell out the second word but use initials for all other words,” and/or
“Whenever there is a number I use the number and don’t spell it out.”

If your software requires your password to be less than or equal to 10 characters, you absolutely need to use this method. Do not use a correctly spelled word for a short password.

Finally, we here at Holston IT do recommend that you use a Password Management Solution—click here to read more about that.

Yes, this is inconvenient.
But the security of your information is worth it!