Examples of a Strong Password

How to make your passwords stronger to secure your account

What to Know

  • Never use "password" as your password. Use a different password on every website.
  • Avoid using words listed in a dictionary as a password. Substitute numbers or symbols for some letters in the word.
  • Use a password manager and change your passwords every 90 days.

This article explains the difference between a strong password and a weak one. It includes tips and examples for making a password stronger.

Examples of Weak Passwords

Hackers and computer intruders use automated software to submit hundreds of guesses per minute to user accounts and attempt to gain access. These tools use lists of dictionary words to guess the password sequentially. Some tools add common symbols, numbers, or signs that may be added to the password to make it more complicated.

Never use "password" as your password. A surprising number of people make this mistake.

Dictionary hacking tools that use an English dictionary list easily find words in that dictionary. If the simple word doesn't give access to an account, the device modifies the submission and tries other iterations of the same word.

For example, a Dictionary hacking tool would attempt these iterations of the word Dog:

  • Dog
  • Dogs
  • Dogcatcher
  • Dogcatchers
  • Dogberry
  • Dogberries
  • Dogma
  • Dogmatic
  • Dogmatized
  • Dog1
  • Dog2
  • Dog3
  • Dog4

Password-guessing tools submit hundreds or thousands of words per minute. If a password is anything close to a dictionary word, it's incredibly insecure. When a password does not resemble any regular word patterns, it takes longer for the repetition tool to guess it.

Passwords with personal information, such as your birthdate or street address, are also easy targets for hackers.

How to Make Your Password More Secure

To keep your accounts secure, make a strong password that's difficult to guess and store it in a password manager so you won't forget. A strong password is more resistant to guessing, so it's unlikely to be found in a brute force dictionary hack.

The best way to create a secure password is to start with a simple password and turn it into a complex one.

The table below shows examples of a simple password that is progressively made more complex. The first column lists simple words that are easy to remember and are found in the dictionary. The second column is a modification of the first column. The last column shows how the simple password is converted into one that is harder to figure out.

Weak Password Better Password Strong Password
kitty 1Kitty 1Ki77y
susan Susan53 .Susan53
jellyfish jelly22fish jelly22fi$h
smellycat sm3llycat $m3llycat
allblacks a11Blacks a11Black$
usher !usher !ush3r
ebay44 ebay.44 &ebay.44
deltagamma deltagamm@ d3ltagamm@
ilovemypiano !LoveMyPiano !Lov3MyPiano
Sterling SterlingGmal2015 SterlingGmail20.15
BankLogin BankLogin13 BankLogin!3

Here are other examples of password variations that purposely avoid using complete English word patterns:

  • Dog.lov3r
  • dOG.lov3r
  • i7ovemydog!!
  • d0gsaremybestfr13nds
  • sn00pdoggyd0G
  • Karm@beatsDogm@
  • C@ts-and-Dogs-Living-together

By injecting numbers and special characters instead of letters, these passwords take exponentially longer for a dictionary program to guess.

  • What is the best password manager?

    Some of the best password managers include Dashlane, KeePass, and Keeper. Good password managers work with multiple browsers, include encryption, and are easy to use.

  • Are password generators safe?

    Password generators can be one way to create strong passwords. It is important to use best practices, such as creating lengthy passwords, using a different password for every account, and changing passwords every 90 days, even when using a password generator.

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