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Pattern-based passwords: Easy to remember non-dictionary-based passwords

Pattern-based passwords: Easy to remember non-dictionary-based passwords

This tip was submitted to the searchSecurity Tip Exchange by user Cragin Shelton. Let other users know how useful it is by rating the tip below.

Password selection and management is a fundamental problem for all security-conscious users. We don't want to have passwords written down, so we encourage users to memorize them. But easy-to-remember passwords are also easy-to-guess passwords. They are often susceptible to dictionary attacks (common words) and personal profile attacks (birthdates, pet names, family member names). Hard-to-guess passwords (particularly system-generated random or pseudo-random passwords) are also hard to remember. You can guaranty that users will write down such hard-to-guess (and thus hard-to-remember) passwords.

To avoid dictionary and profile password attacks you often see a set of password generation rules recommended, such as the following:
  • Have at least six or seven characters.
  • Include at least one upper case and at least one lower case alphabetic character.
  • Include at least one numeric digit.
  • Include at least one non-alphanumeric symbol, e.g. &, $, %, etc.
    These rules can work well, but still in general result in hard-to-remember passwords.

    Here is a tip on how to generate passwords that are not dictionary words, can follow the above guidelines and are easy to remember. Generate your passwords
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