If your computer is attached to the network or your account is on a machine on the network or Internet, someone else on the network can have their computer test hundreds of password combinations against yours every second. This is called "brute-force" password cracking, and the best protection against it is a strong password.
Choosing a Strong Password
A strong password is as long as possible. Always use at least eight characters in your password. The longer the password, the more difficult it is to attack with a brute-force search.
Strong passwords have the following characteristics:
- Use both upper and lower case letters.
- Use digits and/or punctuation characters as well as letters.
- Use something easy to remember, so they do not have to be written down.
- Are a minimum of eight characters long.
Try using phrases for strong passwords, for example:
- Can be typed quickly, so someone else cannot look over your shoulder and learn it.
- L3tS1ppgDg5La - Let Sleeping Dogs Lay.
- D0tfxwT15ntBrk - Don't fix what isn't broken.
A Strong Password is Not:
- Personal information such as your name, phone number, social security number, birth date or address.
- Even names of friends or animals should not be used.
- Any word in the dictionary, or based closely on such a word.
- A word with letters simply replaced by digits. For example, pa55w0rd is not a strong password.
- Easy to spot while you're typing them in.
- Passwords like 12345, qwerty (i.e., all keys right next to each other), or pppppp should be avoided.
- Even if your passwords are strong, NCS recommends you change them approximately every four months.
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