IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How secure is your password?

How to create a safe and easy to remember password

Password protection

It's World Password Day, so it's the perfect time to see how secure your password is.

Remember, just because a password is hard for you to remember, doesn't mean that a computer won't crack it within minutes or hours.

If you take away one thing from this article, it should be this: A long, easy to remember password is better than a short, complex password.

Let's illustrate this with a couple of examples. The first from XKCD shows the complicated password "Trub4dor&3" might appear secure, but it will take 3 days to crack at an estimated rate of 1,000 guesses per second.

Tips for your password

Do

Experiment with creating a strong password here

Make it as long as possible

Use a variety of characters

Use different passwords whenever possible

Sign-up for two-factor authentication 

Don'tUse any factual information e.g. birthdays

Share your password over email or text

Use simple passwords like "12345", "password" or "qwerty"

Meanwhile, a password made up of four random but easily memorable words "correct horse battery staple" would take 550 years to crack at a rate of 1,000 guesses per second. The more characters a password has, the longer it takes to crack.

Sound too good to be true? Let's look at another example, courtesy of Steve Gibson, who hosts the Security Now podcast.

Which is more secure?

PrXyc.N(n4k77#L!eVdAfp9 (23 characters) 

or

D0g.....................(24 characters long)

Look closely, you'll see both include an uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and "special" character. So the second is more secure because it is longer.

Gibson doesn't recommend adding dots into all your passwords, but does suggest you come up with unique padding to help increase the length of passwords.

Most websites require you to use capital letters and numbers so this can act as your padding between four or more random but memorable words.

"You could put some padding in front, and/or interspersed through the phrase, and/or add some more to the end. You could put some characters at the beginning, padding in the middle, and more characters at the end. And also mix-up the padding characters by using simple memorable character pictures like "

Featured Resources

Meeting the future of education with confidence

How the switch to digital learning has created an opportunity to meet the needs of every student, always

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps with Instana

Cost savings and business benefits

Free Download

The business value of the transformative mainframe

Modernising on the mainframe

Free Download

Technology reimagined

Why PCaaS is perfect for modern schools

Free Download

Recommended

Apple, Google, Microsoft expand their support for password-less sign-ins
cyber security

Apple, Google, Microsoft expand their support for password-less sign-ins

6 May 2022
NordPass teams up with insurance provider Cowbell Cyber to improve security awareness
cyber security

NordPass teams up with insurance provider Cowbell Cyber to improve security awareness

18 Feb 2022
NCA donates 225 million passwords to Have I Been Pwned
cyber security

NCA donates 225 million passwords to Have I Been Pwned

21 Dec 2021
Top 200 most common passwords of 2021 revealed
cyber security

Top 200 most common passwords of 2021 revealed

10 Dec 2021

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

7 Jun 2022
Delivery firm Yodel disrupted by cyber attack
cyber attacks

Delivery firm Yodel disrupted by cyber attack

21 Jun 2022
Attracting and retaining talent through training
Sponsored

Attracting and retaining talent through training

13 Jun 2022