What is a strong password?

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What is a strong password?

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A password, along with a user name, is a security measure that allows you access to a computer system, application, email service or online service. A password varies in length and can contain alpha as well as numeric characters and symbols. Short, simple words, phrases and numbers result in weak passwords that hackers and other individuals can simply guess. Once you have a secure password created, it is important to memorize it, but you can write it down.

Password strength is a measure of the effectiveness of a password in resisting guessing and brute-force attacks. In its usual form, it estimates how many trials an attacker who does not have direct access to the password would need, on average, to guess it correctly.


Step One

A strong password consists of at least six characters (and the more characters, the stronger the password) that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (@, #, $, %, etc.) if allowed. Passwords are typically case-sensitive, so a strong password contains letters in both uppercase and lowercase.


Step Two

Look at your computer or device's keyboard or keypad and all its letters, symbols and numbers. Think of a combination of letters, punctuation, symbols and numbers that is 10 to 14 characters or longer in length that has a specific meaning to you.


Step Three

Write down the combination on a piece of paper. Write multiple variations of the combination of characters until you form a password that contains both upper and lower case letters, and numbers and symbols sprinkled throughout.


Step Four

Look at the password and change it if it contains letters, characters or numbers that spell out a specific word or name, your birthday, Social Security number, driver's license or passport number.


Step Five

Place a punctuation mark at the beginning of the password and a symbol at the end. Memorize or store the written password in a safe location where no one can obtain it and access your computer or accounts. If you are memorizing the password, shed or destroy the piece of paper containing your new secure password.


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