Passwords: Longer is Better

We know a lot about bad passwords: Short. Your?name. Dictionary words. Number or letter sequences. Contains your username. On and on. So, it follows, a good password is one that isn’t any of those. One recurring learning regarding good passwords, is that longer is better (as long as it doesn’t violate any of the earlier thoughts.

Continuing the previous thoughts on creating good passwords, and using our examples:

  • 30123Turner
  • 4321MainCola
  • 1234BroadcastCoke
  • 2Peter2:1

Here’s an easy way to make a password longer and more complex all at once. Add a series of special characters. There’s nothing that says you have to use a bunch of different special characters. Pick one you like. For the moment, let’s pick the character #. By inserting “a few” of these into the above, we get:

  • 30123###Turner
  • 4321#MainCola
  • 1234####BroadcastCoke
  • 2##Peter2:1

Perhaps its obvious that I used a different number of #’s in each of those, but I could instantly tell how many to use because I used a method to tell how many to use. Is it obvious?

A simple alternative, choose a long string of special characters, like seven percent signs, %%%%%%%, and plug that somewhere into your core password. Again, keep it simple to remember.


Last Updated: 9/30/2014
All articles in this series on Passwords: