Password strength

« previous post | next post »

We neglected to mention this while the relevant cartoon was the current one at xkcd, but a couple of days ago there was a nice analysis of why through 20 years of effort, we've successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember but easy for computers to guess. Check it out. The observation seems correct: if you try it out on one of the web interfaces that assess the strength of your password as you choose it, you'll find that a word with a few letters replaced by miscellaneous digits and so on, like Ne8r@$k@, gets high marks but grizzle snip grunt mackerel doesn't (and probably won't be accepted beyond the first 8 to 12 characters). Yet if you mutter "grizzle snip grunt mackerel" under your breath once, you'll find you remember it all day, even without using it. And length is your main security. The example the cartoon gives contrasts a 3-day brute-force cracking time (for about 28 bits of entropy) with a 550-year time (for about 44).

[Comments are closed unless you have a password. If you have forgotten your password, click here.]

Comments are closed.