Password Security

by Safe Password Management on March 30, 2011

We’ve been thinking a lot about password security. Why? because more and more of the details of our lives are stored online. In fact, in many cases, our most important, you could even say intimate, details are only a password away. Breaking into your account is easier than you imagine… You have to realize that it’s not a smart (but evil) person that is simply trying to guess your password. Rather, it’s a sophisticated computer (or computers) that are systematically trying random passwords until one works… It’s a numbers game so in order for you to win (and the password hacker to lose), you need to defend yourself with a long and complex password for each site that you visit.

Pay particular attention to the difference between using only lowercase characters and using all possible characters (uppercase, lowercase, and special characters – like @#$%^&*). Adding just one capital letter and one asterisk would change the processing time for an 8 character password from 2.4 days to 2.1 centuries. Here is a table from that clearly illustrates the power of password length in helping to enhance your password security.

Password Length All Characters Only Lowercase
3 characters
4 characters
5 characters
6 characters
7 characters
8 characters
9 characters
10 characters
11 characters
12 characters
13 characters
14 characters
0.86 seconds
1.36 minutes
2.15 hours
8.51 days
2.21 years
2.10 centuries
20 millennia
1,899 millennia
180,365 millennia
17,184,705 millennia
1,627,797,068 millennia
154,640,721,434 millennia
0.02 seconds
.046 seconds
11.9 seconds
5.15 minutes
2.23 hours
2.42 days
2.07 months
4.48 years
1.16 centuries
3.03 millennia
78.7 millennia
2,046 millennia

Remember, these are just for an average computer, and these assume you aren’t usingany word in the dictionary.

There are a variety of online tools to check how secure a given password is. Here’s a password checker you can try out. Please note that this password checker does not collect, store, or transmit information.
The security of the passwords typed into this password checker is similar to the security of the password you enter when you log on to Windows. The password you enter is checked and validated on your computer. It is not sent over the Internet.



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