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How to stop a hacker series: Password strength

Today we start a weeklong series to help you avoid getting hacked.

Everyone knows that bigger is better, in this case longer is best.

When you make a password, it’s common these days to add special characters, numbers and capital letters to make the password more difficult to hack.

The problem is, how on earth do you remember something so nonsensical?

Instead of going crazy with characters, and nuts with numbers, go long!

Making a simple yet hard to crack password is actually easy. Make it 15 characters or more. Remember this, length matters more than difficulty.

Most people have 8 character passwords. Add 7 exclamation points, and you’ve instantly made it exponentially more difficult to crack. You can add any characters, digits or letters, just make it 15 characters or longer.

The reason this makes your password more secure is that todays password cracking tools can try billions of combinations of letters, numbers and symbols to crack an 8 character password just like that.

A motivated hacker with todays fast cracking tools, can guess your 8 character password in under 30 seconds. Add 7 exclamation points, and it’ll take over 12 million centuries to guess every combination.

A longer password makes it much hard for a hacker to find your needle in the haystack.

So, how big is your haystack? We’ve got a link to a great tool you can use to check your own password strength. You’ll find it on

There, you can ask us your tech questions anytime.

Tomorrow, why you don’t want to use the same password over and over.