Weak Passwords

Just a short article on how to avoid weak passwords. This is a summary of some ideas discussed elsewhere on this site. Cyber criminals use sophisticated tools that can rapidly decipher any type of passwords and particularly weak passwords.  Many passwords are easily guessed, especially if the hacker knows something about your background. It is common for office workers to use the word “password” to enter their office networks. Other commonly used passwords are the computer user’s first, last or child’s name, Secret, names of sports teams or sports terms, and repeated characters such as AAAAAA or bbbbbb. Don’t let yourself fall into this camp… Here are some tips to avoid weak passwords.


Avoid creating weak passwords:

  • by using dictionary words in any language.
  • with words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and abbreviations.
  • using sequences or repeated characters. Examples: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty or asdf).
  • using personal information. Your name, birthday, driver’s license, passport number, or similar information.
  • using all lowercase characters.
  • that are short in length (3-6 characters will be easily hacked)
  • and then reusing the same password on multiple sites.
  • and storing them in post-it notes in or around your computer or desk.


Make your weak passwords much stronger by:

  • using characters from the entire keyboard including mixed case, numbers and special characters. A MySpace phishing scheme in 2006 revealed 34,000 passwords, of which only 8.3% used mixed case, numbers, and symbols.
  • If there is only one special character in your password, make sure it is not the first or last character in your password.
  • making your passwords as long as possible (at least 8 characters is a good rule of thumb).
  • making sure your password doesn’t contain any part of your username or email address within the password.
  • making sure you can type it quickly so nobody can easily see what you typed. So, get familiar with your passwords, particularly if you are in a shared work environment.
  • avoiding the most common characters used in passwords. The most common number used is “1″ and the most common letters are a, e, o, and r.
  • by changing them frequently.
  • ensuring that the password used for logging on to your office computer is different from the password you use to log in to a web site on the Internet.




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