How good is your password?

It seems that easy to guess passwords are all the rage. I am amazed by the number of people who still use their initals for their password. Better websites are now allowing you to check your passwords for length, use of odd characters and the like. Microsoft has even launched a stand alone password checking website to allow you to test various passwords without logging in to anything.

Try the Microsoft Password Checker.

Weak passwords invite the bad guys to take your stuff. I am all for strong passwords. What's a strong password?
  • Minimum of eight characters in length (ten or twelve is better)
  • Contains lower and upper case letters
  • Contains no dictionary words
  • Does not contain your name, initials, or date of birth
  • Contains symbols (i.e. $%&*#)

I am sure the list above will change over time, especially as password hacking systems get more sophisticated. For now, the guidelines above should help keep you safe.

By the way, I predict that a number of "bad guys" will soon be trying to gather passwords by hosting websites that look like Microsoft's password checker. You've been warned.

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.