How Strong is Your Password?

A recent Wall Street Journal interview ( about passwords indicated that a password like “correcthorsestaplebattery” is stronger than “Tr0ub4dor&3”. So I checked it out with a password strength checker ( Wrong! The long password was rated weak with a score of 25 and the shorter password was rated very strong with a score of 100! The reason for the low score of the long password - no numbers or symbols and all lowercase. Just using one uppercase letter and adding one number gave it a rating of very strong with a score of 100. What this means is that you can use a string of unconnected words - at least three - with at least one uppercase and one number or symbol to make up a memorable password. Trouble is, you need to make up a LOT of passwords - one for every account you have. So the easy way out, as suggested by the article, is to use a password manager where that memorable password gives you access to the password manager and let the password manager make up complex passwords for each of your accounts. Done! Only one password that you need to remember.

And then I checked out my favorite combination password, a pattern like lllnlllnLLLn, where lll are lower case letters, n is a number, and LLL are uppercase letters. 12 characters in all. It was rated very strong with a score of 87. Adding just one more character, either another number or a symbol, changed the score to 100.

If you want to test your password, use the above link - but don’t use your password verbatim. Just use the same pattern with different letters, numbers and symbols.

Oh, did I say that you only need to remember one password? Not quite right. You need to remember your computer login password also.

John R Carter, Sr.