What makes a strong password?

Strong Passwords

Passwords can be maliciously obtained through various methods, from manual guessing, insecurely stored passwords, social engineering; when you may be tricked into revealing your password and also brute force; a piece of software automatically trying every possible combination of letters and numbers against your account, which can take minutes to years to crack dependent on how strong your password is.

Our guidance for creating strong passwords:

  • Don’t use a single word, choose a combination or phrase instead
  • Make them at least 8 characters long, the longer the better, which is harder for hackers to crack
  • Don’t use pet or family names, birthdays or any other personal information that could be found on social media
  • Adding numbers, a mixture of upper or lower case, symbols or punctuation makes the password stronger

A good method is to think of a sentence or phrase, which could be a favourite song lyric, which is easy for you to remember but very hard for someone to guess. It also makes the password longer such as:

The first house I lived in was at 22 Spanish Way, Ide, Devon.

Which translates to:

TfhIliw22SW,I,D.

And remember once you have you password:

  • Ensure you completely change your password each time you need to
  • Don’t write it down or post it on your monitor
  • Never share your password with anyone else
  • Don’t use work passwords for personal accounts
  • Avoid using the same password anywhere

We recommend that businesses have Password Policies in place for employees to follow when setting their passwords. Consideration also towards 2 factor authentication which provides an extra layer of security and requires not only the username and password but also something that only the user has on them, such as mobile phone and SMS technology used as an authentication device.

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