What is the perfect password?

What is the perfect password?

Passwords are essential in our day-to-day lives. Creating them to be secure and easy to remember is vital.

By following these three simple guidelines, together with tips on how to create passwords you can actually remember, you can measure up just like Mary Poppins, “Practically perfect in every way”.

1.) The Longer the better–use more than 12 characters when possible
A brute force attack means a computer is systematically checking every combination of letters and numbers contained in your password.  According to Password Depot,  an eight letter password has 457,163,239,653,376 combinations taking 2.6 days to crack – with 12 letters this jumps to 7.5 million years. So by increasing the number of characters, you decrease the risk of your password being uncovered.

2.) Avoid the obvious by mixing up letters and numbers
Using complete words makes it easier for systems to guess, particularly when using words that relate to you.  Pet names, football teams and children’s names are all easy for others to crack.  If you must use a word, mix it up by using a number 5 for an S or a zero for O.

 3.) Don’t reuse–mix things up a bit
Using the same password for multiple accounts is a recipe for disaster.  Forget it and you forget everything and even worse, if someone cracks it, they have access to multiple accounts.  Mix it up and never repeat the same password.

Quick tips for remembering passwords:

  • Use a phrase, personal to you. Remember to include numbers. Type the first letters of each word. E.g. At the age of three, Toby Brown was my very best friend = AtAo3TbWmVbF
  • Keep it unique by adding a reference to the app. Facebook, then another password. So keeping with Toby Brown a Facebook password could be FBK.AtAo3TbWmVbF
  • Dates and times work well. Thursday14th18:57 could be really significant to you – but with 17 characters, uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special character – it ticks a lot of strong password boxes.

If you have an interest in password security, consider our Cyber Security course at CU London and CU Scarborough.