Increase your password strength

Posted Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 5:09 pm by: JS No Comments  

We’ve talked about the importance of a strong password before, and have provided tips to strengthen your own, but we wanted to take a moment and describe what a mighty password looks like. 

The basic gist is this: Long passwords are much preferred.  The longer it is, the harder it is to crack.  Use both capital & lowercase letters.  Use not only letters, but numbers and symbols as well. 

You can also use certain numbers and some symbols (or combination of symbols) to replace letters in an easy to remember word or phrase.  Some are more obvious to the human brain than others, some are nearing the abstract, but all will help fool any robots or villainous persons trying to hijack one of your accounts.  Below is a legend of suggestions, there are probably many more, but this was all that came to mind at the moment:

  • 0 (zero) = O (that’s one of the more obvious ones)
  • 1 = I or L
  • 2 = Z or Q
  • 3 = E
  • 4 = A
  • 5 = S
  • 6 = G or b
  • 7 = T
  • 8 = B
  • 9 = g
  • @ = a
  • < = C
  • |) = D
  • |= = F
  • # = H
  • |-| = H
  • ! = I or L
  • | = I or L
  • |_ = L
  • |< = K
  • |\| = N
  • /\/ = N
  • |\/| = M
  • /\/\ = M
  • () = O
  • |o = P
  • ? = Q
  • |2 = R
  • |” = R (r)
  • $ = S
  • ~|~ = T
  • -|- = T
  • + = T
  • |_| = u
  • \/ = V
  • |/ = V
  • \/\/ = W
  • |/\| = W
  • % = X
  • >< = X
  • `/ = Y
  • & = “and” sound, ex: S& or $&= “sand”
  • @ = “at” sound, ex: C@ = “cat”
  • _ = a space

To exemplify these concepts, we’ll walk through how to transform your favorite phrase or existing password into a much stronger one.

Pick something easy to remember as the base of your password.  Say your favorite song is “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison, a weak password would look like this:
indreams

A slightly stronger password would look like this:
indreamsroyorbison  But that’s still not really strong enough…

Implement just some of the techniques we’ve covered, and you get something like this:
1/\/Dr34m$_r0y()R8!s0|\|

If you want to take it a step even further you can add random symbols to the beginning and end to get this:
^^*~-_1/\/Dr34m$_r0y()R8!s0|\|_-~*^^

If you want to get really crazy with it, you could do something like this:
_-~*^v^*~-_1/\/_|)|234|\/|$_|”0`/_()|28!50|\|_-~*^v^*~-_   Now that is a STRONG password!

Here’s a puzzle of a password, let’s see if you can figure it out…here’s a clue, it’s the name of a famous western movie:
8|_|7<|-|_<4$5!|)`/_@/\/|)_-|-#3_$|_||\||)4/\/<3_|<1|)
(Hint: _ has been used as spaces to help you along, but be careful, not all _’s are spaces.)

About JS

JS has grown up around computers and has developed a wealth of end-user experience. Technology interests include robotics, vintage video games, music gear, multimedia software, home security and Internet security.

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