From ITWorld 6/11/2012
‘Strong’ isn’t a detailed password-rating; go for a quintillions possible combos, then add a symbol.
Security breaches of mind-numbing size like those at LinkedIn and EHarmony.com set crypto- and security geeks to chattering about weak passwords and lazy users and the importance of non-alphanumeric characters to security.
And insisting on a particular number of characters in a password is just pointless security-fetish control freakishness, right?
Nope. The number and type of characters make a big difference.
How big? Adding a symbol eliminates the possibility of a straight dictionary attack (using, literally, words from a dictionary. Adding a symbol, especially an unusual one, makes it much harder to crack even using rainbow tables (collections of alphanumeric combinations, only some of which include symbols).
How big a difference to length and character make?
Click here for the rest of the article on how to create a secure password.
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