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Beyond 15 characters: The secrets to truly secure passwords


In the world of password security, it’s not just about the length; it’s about crafting passwords that are truly resilient. While it’s easy to assume that a longer password equals better security, that’s not always the case.

Consider the common belief that a 15-character password should be rock solid. Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. The eight-character password “password” is a familiar yet highly vulnerable choice. On the other end, we have the seemingly complex 15-character password “Sym_newhireOEIE.” Surprisingly, even it doesn’t guarantee foolproof security because it is used so often.

So, what’s the key to creating a robust password?

  1. Diversity Matters: Instead of relying solely on length, incorporate a variety of characters in your password. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols to add complexity.
  2. Avoid Predictable Patterns: Steer clear of easily guessable patterns like “123456” or “password.” These are the first choices cybercriminals target.
  3. Unique for Every Site: Don’t reuse passwords across multiple websites. A password breach on one site can compromise your accounts on others.
  4. Passphrases Over Passwords: Consider using passphrases—longer phrases or sentences that are easier to remember and harder to crack. For example, “PurpleElephant$JumpedOverRainbows!” is a strong passphrase.
  5. Password Manager: A reliable password manager can generate strong, unique passwords for each site and securely store them, sparing you the headache of memorizing numerous complex codes.
  6. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security, requiring you to provide a one-time code generated on a separate device alongside your password.

While a lengthy password is valuable, its strength is derived from its diversity, unpredictability and uniqueness.

If you would like help implementing these practices to bolster your password security and keep your small- or medium-sized business safe from cyber threats, give us a call.