Feb 09

If you can’t remember your password, you need to read this.

I wrote this a while back for PhillyPolice.com.

Password requirements are becoming increasingly stringent as time passes. This is good practice. The computer you are using right now is capable of hacking a 5 character password in less than 12 seconds. When you double the length of the password to 10 characters it increases the time to about 4.5 years. How, in our busy lives, are we supposed to remember such long passwords? The absolute minimum recommendations for passwords are:

  • It needs to contain special characters such as @#$%^&
  • It must be at least 10 characters long
  • It must not have any common words such as 123, password, your birth date, your login name and any words that can be found in the dictionary
  • It must contain a variation of upper and lowercase letters

Here are 5 tips to creating strong passwords that are easy to remember.

  1. Instead of using your name followed by numbers (Frank1234), mix the numbers in with the name (F1r2a3n4k). It just as easy to remember and will not be found in any dictionary.
  2. Make an easily remembered sentence such as “The #1 website in the world is PhillyPolice.com.” Using the first letter of each word your password would be ‘T#1witwsP.com’. If you adjust the site in the sentence for the site you are making a password for, you will have a strong and unique password for each website you use.
  3. Replace letters with special characters that look like the letter. Use @ for ‘a’ , ! for ‘1’, and $ for ‘s’. DO NOT use “p@$$w0rd” as your password! You may think you are being slick, but that is one of the first passwords hacking software will try.
  4. If you must, write down only a portion of your password, leaving 4 or 5 characters out. If someone finds your “little black book” they still do not have access to your passwords.
  5. If you absolutely, positively, 100% cannot remember your passwords and you must write them down, keep the paper in a safe place. DO NOT store the paper under your keyboard!

These are just a few tips to help make your experience on the Internet a bit safer. There are many articles written on this subject that can be found by entering “strong passwords” in to your favorite search engine. Thank for visiting the PhillyPolice.com blog.

About Frank Domizio

Frank Domizio is the proud husband of his best friend and partner, Hope and the father of two beautiful children. He has been a Philadelphia Police Officer since 1997. He is currently working at the FBI's Philadelphia Regional Computer Forensics Lab as a Forensic Examiner. Prior being detailed to the FBI, Frank was the Social and Digital Media Manager in the PPD's Office of Media Relations and Public Affairs. Frank holds a degree in Computing and Security Technology from Drexel University and is pursuing a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Engineering from Villanova University. He has also had the opportunity to lecture at Drexel, Temple and Saint Joseph's Universities on the topics of social and new media marketing. Follow him at or @FJDomizio. ***********************************DISCLAIMER*********************************** The opinions expressed on FrankDomizio.com do not reflect the opinions of any rational human being on Earth. That list includes my mother, the City of Philadelphia, any current or future Pope, the Philadelphia Police Department, or any former President (excluding Bill Clinton because he probably agrees with me).
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