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What makes a good password?

20th October 2015

what makes a good password

Many hackers enter computer systems simply by guessing passwords, and with the top passwords of 2012, 2013 and 2014 being ‘password’, ‘123456’ and ‘12345678’, we’re not exactly making things difficult for them! Of the 40 million Adobe account passwords leaked online, 2 million were ‘123456’.

So what makes a good password? Use our list of DOs & DON’Ts below to keep your computer and data secure:


DO use a password that contains alphanumeric & UPPERCASE characters. Include punctuation and symbols throughout the password.

DO be aware of phishing emails. Be vigilant! Inform your bank or IT department immediately.

DO consider using a sentence for your password.

DO use a password that can be typed quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by looking at your keyboard (known as ‘shoulder surfing’).

DO aim to use at least fourteen characters in your password.

DO be aware of social network engineering attacks – scams designed to obtain logon credentials. Or attempts to inject malicious code into your browser.

DO change passwords regularly (more than once a year). This change stops someone who has already compromised an account from continued access.

DO use a secure password manager such as LastPass, Roboform or KeyPass.

DO use two factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible.


DON’T use single dictionary words. These are easily broken using basic dictionary attacks!

DON’T use common keyboard sequences, e.g. ‘qwerty’, ‘abcd’ or ‘1234’.

DON’T reveal a password to anyone… …Not even your mother!

DON’T use your first, middle or last name or anyone else’s in any form. Do not use your initials or any nicknames you may have.

DON’T use your network login ID (username) in any form (reversed, capitalized, or doubled as a password).

DON’T write a password on sticky notes (on your desk, or stuck to your laptop), desk blotters, or calendars.

DON’T simply add a capital letter to the start of a password, and end in a number. These passwords are also easily broken!

DON’T reuse passwords across multiple websites and web services.

DON’T use words found in common films or music, or use popular names of hobbies.

Probably the best piece of advice we can give to everyone is to stay educated and stay informed! Download this poster for your home or office (PDF, 45KB)

There are many password manager systems for PC, Macs, tablets and phones. Here at PC Comms we are big fans of RoboForm Password Manager, and can help set up and support it. Please contact us for more details.


Download our poster. Click on the image below:




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