Password Strength

Published on April 3, 2020
Last modified on August 4, 2023
Creating strong passwords

Passwords are a major component of almost everything we do online. Whether work-related or personal, these special credentials are intended to protect private information from cyber criminals.

However . . . Despite recurrent warnings about the importance of strong passwords, a number of popular surveys indicate that more than half of internet users do NOT have strong passwords. Weak combinations and password “reuse” remain common and continue to present a serious security risk.

Don’t find yourself in this category of users until it’s too late and your data has been hacked. Take steps NOW to create a safer digital environment for work and play!

Password Managers and Generators

Tools such as password managers and generators are becoming more prominent as hackers become more sophisticated. These computer programs allow users to store and manage multiple passwords for local applications or online services or, in the case of a generator, automatically create passwords and fill online forms. Many are available for free online. Others may be purchased for a fee and are often utilized by employers.

Strong Passwords

  • Contain both upper and lower case characters (e.g., a-z, A-Z)
  • Have digits and punctuation characters as well as letters (e.g., 0-9, !@#$%^&*()_+|~-)
  • Are at least eight alphanumeric characters; 16 total characters is considered best
  • Are not a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc.
  • Are not based on personal information, names of family, etc.

Weak Passwords

  • Contain less than eight characters
  • Can be found in a dictionary
  • Are names of family, pets, friends, coworkers, fantasy characters, etc.
  • Are computer terms or names, commands, sites, companies, hardware, software
  • Use birthdays and other personal information such as address, phone number
  • Utilize word or number patterns like aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts, 123321, etc.
  • Include any of the above spelled backwards

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Disclaimer: The GUARD Wire is designed to provide general information about various topics of interest and should NOT replace the guidance, advice, or recommendations from licensed insurance or legal professionals, other industry experts, or state and federal authorities.