Cyber Safety Blotter

Strong Passwords = Safe Internet Use

March 6, 2013 1:01 PM

Strong passwords are important protections to help you have safer online transactions.  The key to password strength is length and complexity.  An ideal password is long and has letters, punctuation, symbols, and numbers.

• Whenever possible, use 14 characters or more.
• The greater the variety of characters in your password, the better.
• Use the entire keyboard, not just the letters and characters you use or see most often.

Create a Strong Password you can remember:

There are many ways to create a long, complex password.  Here are some suggestions that might help you remember it easily:

What to do Example
Start with a sentence or two. Complex passwords are safer and easier to remember.
Remove the spaces between the words in the sentence. Complexpasswordsaresaferandeasiertoremember.
Turn words into symbols, numbers, or shorthand. ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember.
Add length with numbers. Put numbers that are meaningful to you after the sentence. ComplexpasswordsRsafer&easier2remember2011.


Test your password with a password checker:
A password checker evaluates your password's strength automatically.  Some sample websites include or

Protect your passwords from prying eyes:
The easiest way to "remember" passwords is to write them down. It is okay to write passwords down, but keep them secure.  I would not recommend carrying them with you.

Common password pitfalls to avoid:
Cyber criminals use sophisticated tools that can rapidly decipher passwords.
Avoid creating passwords that use:
• Dictionary words in any language
• Words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and abbreviations.
• Sequences or repeated characters. Examples: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty).
• Personal information. Your name, birthday, driver's license, passport number, or similar information.

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