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Healthy Passwords

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Qualities of a Strong Password

  1. Be at least ten characters.

    Longer usually means better. If you choose your characters wisely, you can make stronger passwords using fewer characters.

  2. Include a mix of lower case and upper case letters.

    Upper case means capitalized. A character is any letter, number, or punctuation mark.

  3. Include at least one number

  4. Include at least one special character.

    Most English keyboards have over 30 special characters. When selecting special characters, try to use ones that are comfortable for you to type.

    If you will access a site on a device that does not have a keyboard, try using special characters your device supports. It is frustrating to find your device does not support the special character you used in a great password. A Hash # or asterisk * is usually on a phone keypad.

    For kids or people with shorter fingers, special characters like (, . ; : < >{ }) may be easier to type on a standard keyboard.

  5. Is not a dictionary word (even spelled backward).

    Dictionary words should be avoided. One of the first things cracking programs do is try "password". Shortly after they try "drowssap" (password spelled backward).

  6. Internet searches for any part of the password should not return any meaningful results.

  7. Do not use series like abc or 123 or 321.

  8. Avoid character substitution (like P@$$W0RD) for dictionary words.

    This looks like a good password, but it’s not:
    P@$$w0rd

    Cracking programs try character substitutions and will quickly crack this password.

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