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Testing Passwords

Updated February 2012

This is a great site to test your passphrases.  What hadn't heard that term before? Well, get used to it. We are now needing to move away from passwords and on to passphrases and even pass-sentences! Yup, we want to mix upper and lower case, numerals and symbols and produce keys which are longer and less likely to be in dictionaries designed to crack passwords. I've written a much better and newer article on passwords here.

Rule 1: Make sure it is not in the 100,000 most common passwords so, no words, no birthdays or other dates, no simple transformations etc.
Rule 2: Use all 4 character types: lower case and upper case letters, numerals and symbols
Rule 3: Make it long.

My advice is to have a couple of very good passwords for when you don't have access to your password manager program and to access that program. Otherwise, use the random ones produced  by your password program. I strongly recommend not using the same password over and over. I strongly recommend using a password program to store your passwords.

To test the value of mixing character types and length check your passwords at: https://www.grc.com/haystack.htm


A Word about Security Questions:

Banks and other places often ask for security questions. Questions like your Mother's maiden name, your birthplace and so forth. These are sometimes used if you forget your password. The problem is that anyone pretending to be you might have access to this information. My recommendation is to write these questions down in your password program along with wrong answers, or better yet, generate completely random passwords for these answers as well. Just make sure you backup your password safe.


Date: September 2008

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