Get a better password

I've come across several people lately who have had passwords cracked - mostly for online email accounts (Hotmail, Yahoo and so on) but sometimes for more important things.


Here's a link to a good page that summarises how to choose a good password:

My own summary:


Don't use  a dictionary word. Someone can throw a dictionary at your account and discover the password in minutes.

Don't use something guessable - you maiden name, place of birth, car registration number... these are all bad passwords.

You probably have too many passwords to use a different one for everything. But try to use unique ones for really important thigns, like bank accounts.  Watch out for websites that store your password in plain text, so any employee of the company may be able to read it. A big clue here is when they are able to send you an email telling you what your password is. If they do that, make really sure it's a unique password you don't use elsewhere.


One way to make a password is to use an online password generator to make a pronounceable non-word for you. Being pronnouncable, you can choose one that's memorable, but not in the dictionary. Google will find lots of sites to generate passwords for you.

Another way, as suggested by the page I linked to above, is to use a phrase of 3 or more words instead of one word. Such as:   "paint the cat". Note that "letmein" is a bad password, as thousands of people before you have had the same idea.