Good and bad passwords
Passwords are the weak point of security. Ask any hacker.
Special programs exist to crack passwords. They're very good. The passwords that most people use can be cracked in a few minutes. A recent figure I saw was 80% within 18 minutes.
If you want a high security password, here are the rules:
This is a hell of a palaver and not surprisingly most people can't be bothered with it. But you can come to a decent compromise. Here's an example of a medium security password.
This can easily be remembered as "To attAck".
Or even better (because it's a bit longer):
This can be remembered as "Gates Is A Star" (nice password, not sure about the sentiment).
A password cracking program working at 500 passwords a second would take on average 600 years to break this seven character password.
And by comparison...
Regular words and names are the first items a cracking program checks. It simply sticks in every word and name from its 60,000 word dictionary to see if one of them fits. If your password is one of the 60,000, no matter whether it's long or short, it will be cracked within a matter of minutes.
Let's take the bad example of the passworkd "michael", which is seven characters long (just like our previous example of G8sIsA*). Only now it doesn't take 600 years to crack. It takes - hold your breath - less than two minutes.
Clearly a good password offers an entirely different level of security to a bad one.
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