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  • Writer's pictureAvi Iyer

How Easy Are You to Hack?

Determine how strong your password really is.


What Makes a Strong Password?

Password strength is determined by many different factors such as:

  1. Character Variety

  2. Length

  3. Repeated Patterns

  4. Entropy

Character variety (1) can be summarized by four types: upper case letters, lower case letters, numeric numbers, and other special characters. The more variety, the stronger the password.

Length (2) is the number of characters that a password has. The longer the password, the stronger the password.

Repeated patterns (3) are easy to guess and should be prevented or limited to increase the strength of a password.

Entropy (4) measures how predictable a password can be. It uses a combination of length and character variety of a password to determine predictability-the greater the entropy, the stronger the password.

NIST Password Creation Guidelines

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created guidelines to make passwords more secure.

These guidelines include limiting the number of failed password attempts, implementing two-factor authentication, and salting and hashing passwords.

A summarized list of the 2022 guidelines can be found here.

Helpful Tools

The 'How Secure Is My Password' tool factors in repeated patterns, character variety, and length to determine how secure a password is. The tool then estimates the length of time a computer would take to crack the password. Generally, adding Unicode characters increases the time by a lot.

The 'Password Strength Test' uses the number of characters and symbols to add or deduct points to a score to determine password strength. Similar to the other tool, Unicode characters tend to increase the complexity and overall score of the password.

Both websites align with the NIST standards for password creation and are good tools to use before creating and using a password.

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