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Choosing strong passwords and passphrases

Some suggestions about what class as strong and weak passwords can be found in IS 6: Changing/Choosing Your Passwords. This page complements that by giving some examples. The idea is to make it harder for automated password cracking programs to work out the password. Obviously these examples should NOT be used as they are now widely available!

  • Misspelling a term and using odd characters in an otherwise familiar term, e.g. aS!pir0n8 (that's "aspirin" by the way!)
  • Using a combination of two unrelated words and a combination of letters and numbers, e.g. MutT37Yu
  • Taking a combination of letters and numbers, or a phrase like many colors and use only the consonants, substituting the vowels with other characters, e.g. m^nYc0l0Rs
  • Taking the first letter from each word in a phrase (e.g., My dog used to have fleas but he ate them becomes Mdu2Hfbh8T. You could also use the sentence as a pass phrase.
  • Using a long uncommon, or made up, phrase, for example The crazy brown fox kicked the dozy hound or My friend's grandmother has 2 hairy legs!
  • Alternating between one consonant and one or two vowels, to create a nonsense word. This provides nonsense words that are usually pronounceable and thus easily remembered, e.g., aDnifaLat. If you add numbers and special characters you can end up with something like m1Faje@l0Ma
  • Using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters in a word, for example c0M8o3#rs represents composers
  • Including, as do several of the example above, at least two digits or special characters (e.g. #>$).