• The PC Clinic

How Secure Is Your P@$$w0rd?

5 Ways to increase your password strength

Most sites that require a password have a minimum of 8 characters. But is the minimum enough? How quickly can your password be hacked? 8-character passwords that only have capital and lower-case letters can be hacked by a single computer in under 3 hours. If you use a number as well, that increases the time for a single computer to hack to maybe a week at most. Most people have been taught that the complexity of the password is enough. We end up with a password that’s difficult to remember, but easy to crack. So, what can we do?

1. A passphrase, instead of a password, can not only be easier to remember, but the length and spaces also make it much more secure.

2. When using a passphrase, you can use common character or number substitutions for letters. Here’s an example: Substitute number 1 for letter i and number 0 for letter o, turning “I’m an administrator” into “1’m an Adm1n1strat0r”

A brute force attack would take one hundred quintillion years to crack that password. That’s 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 years, and it’s really easy to remember. Most sites will allow you to enter spaces and other characters like commas, apostrophes, and quotation marks instead of the default options most people use such as an exclamation mark or dollar sign. When creating your passphrase, make it meaningful to you and use symbols other than these ! ? . * $

3. Even if you don’t use number substitutions or special characters, the length of your passphrase will help with your security. Here are some examples: Enjoy every moment – is 18 characters long, easy to remember, and would take 1 quadrillion years to crack Believe in yourself – is 19 characters long, inspirational, memorable, and would take 1 hundred quadrillion years to crack Test your passwords by typing them into this very useful site.


They don’t store, save, remember, or share anything you type in. They will simply tell you how long it would take to crack your password.

4. Use a password creation and management tool such as Dashlane or LastPass. These tools are designed to help you navigate the complex world of passwords and better manage your security. They even have tutorials to help you learn how to effectively use them.

5. Turn on other security features for your accounts such as 2-factor authentication. This will make it so that another device you register with your account is required for access. Although it can be considered to be less convenient, it is exponentially more secure.

6. Bonus Tip: A huge majority of people use the name of a pet or a relative as a major part of their password. Simply put… don’t. Passwords become very, very easy to guess by people who know you just enough and don’t actually require technical expertise to bypass your security. Don’t use the closest thing around you when creating a password. Actually give some thought to your password creation before it’s time to create a new one.

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