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Passwords can be extremely complicated when you are adding too many numbers and special characters while trying to avoid easy to guess words and personal details. Most of us fall into the trap of reusing passwords or making passwords simple words that will be easy to remember. This is not the best way to keep your password safe and leaves our accounts at risk of being hacked. A complex but short password like “S4nfr4n” can be cracked in 639 milliseconds. A simpler password takes even less time. Here’s what you can do to protect your accounts with a password that is long and easy to remember.

SANS and the CISA both recommend using long passphrases as opposed to short complex passwords. This way you can make it a phrase only you know that is easy to remember. For example, a passphrase like “logic finite eager ratio” would take about 189,658,722 centuries. This is much longer and takes a longer amount of time to crack than a password like “123456”.

After you come up with a passphrase you can remember, there is more you can do to protect your accounts: 

  • Use different passphrases on different systems and accounts.

  • Use the longest passphrase permissible by each password system.

  • Develop mnemonics to remember complex passphrases.

  • Use a password manager program to keep track of your passwords. Le Moyne recommends using KeePass for your password manager.

  • Do not use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed.

  • Do not use words or phrases that are easy to guess or found on your social media accounts. For example, if you put your favorite quote on your Facebook profile do not use that for your passphrase. 

For more information on Passphrases read, visit Choosing and Protecting Passwords | CISA, or review your SANS Security Training. 

Posted in: Security Corner
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