Passphrase: More Secure Than a Password
A passphrase is like a password, but much longer. It is a series of words or text, not just a word or two. Passwords are usually 6 to 10 characters, but passphrases are 20 to 30. The added length makes a passphrase much harder for a hacker to crack. As with passwords, you don’t want to use your passphrase for more than one account. The more accounts that it is used for, the less secure it becomes. A passphrase is perfect to use as your Master Password for SpeedyPassword.
A strong passphrase does not contain your username, real name, or any other confidential information. Please don’t use the names of your pets and family members. This information is easy to find on social media. You want your passphrase to be meaningful to you, but difficult for others to figure out.
Many people who use passphrases relate them to something they are interested in. Some use a pop culture, literary or sports reference. To make these harder to decode, add random characters, like symbols, in the middle of words, like so:
If you like British TV, you may choose something like imSHERl0cked@221bBakerSt.
A thespian might choose a line from Hamlet, 2thine0WNselfBtru.I.III
Big hockey fan? #99.gretZkyThaGR80ne!
Why Use a Passphrase?
When cyber criminals try to decrypt passwords, they usually use a dictionary attack or a brute force attack. A dictionary attack targets passwords that use real words (like the ones in the dictionary). This type of attack methodically tries hundreds, sometimes millions of words in an exhaustive list. This is more difficult for hackers to do with a passphrase, especially if you insert symbols into the words.
Brute force attackers try username and password combinations over again until they get into the account. This becomes much harder to do with a long passphrase. Again, including symbols and numbers exponentially increases the time it takes to crack a passphrase. It may increase the time by centuries.
If you’re having trouble remembering the complex password you created, try a passphrase. It is much easier to remember a line from your favorite song than IQvizrB3t7IeI1pL}nX\z. (Don’t forget those symbols!) If want to check how secure your new passphrase is, throw it into Password Checker Online. It will also tell you the time it takes to crack with brute force and dictionary attacks.
February 25, 2015 / By: Laura B. Goode