Password or Passphrase

How safe are your passwords? Most of us do precisely the wrong thing and use familiar and easily remembered words and names that a hacker, or someone who knows you could probably guess see post. It’s also a mistake to use any word that appears in an English or foreign dictionary because there are lots of ‘brute force’ password cracking programs that simply plough through hundreds of thousands of common names and words in the hope they’ll get lucky.

The ideal password should consist of a random mixture of numbers and characters, upper and lower case — the more the better — and changed regularly, but how on earth are you supposed to remember something like ‘3Lk6Mj5o5K3m’? The answer is you can’t, but there are some alternative to easily memorise, which is replace letters for numbers or symbols or vice-versa in the password, making them more secure. So, instead of typing password, you can type [email protected]$$w0rd or soldier with $0ld!3r. Another way is using ‘Passphrase’, a simple three or four word combination — preferably meaningless — that can’t be easily guessed, or cracked. Something like “pencil love guava” would be very difficult for a hacker or software to crack, and the spaces between the words make it even more impenetrable, but you should avoid well known phrases or sayings, like “better safe than sorry”.

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