Microsoft List - November, 2009:
- F**kyou (edited)
- your first name)
From the report, Francis Allan Tan Seng and Andrei Saygo provide this advice:
"We just want to make users aware of the fact that passwords of around 8-10 characters (the average length of passwords that are normally used for Internet accounts) are used in attacks. Even a long password (10 to 15, or even 20 characters) isn’t good enough if it’s dictionary-based. As seen in the table above, there are passwords in dictionaries that are even using special characters (for example #!comment: ), not only numbers and letters.
You should take good care of what user name and password you're choosing. If your account has no limit on the number of login attempts, then knowing the user name is like having half of the job done. Especially for the user names from the top 10 (and mainly for the Administrator/Administrateur accounts), the passwords shouldn’t be picked lightly.
Usually we choose easy to type and/or easy to remember passwords, but please don’t forget that those passwords (for the moment) are the most commonly used or authentication on the Internet so they need to be strong.
The three basic things to remember when creating a strong password are the following:
1. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Also, remember that some dictionaries used in attacks have a "l33t" mode, which allows common letter/number-to-special character substitutions (like changing a-@, i-1 ,o-0 and s=$, for example, password = p@$$w0rd). Therefore, mix them in different ways so that they are not predictable.
2. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters.
3. Make it lengthy. A longer password does not necessarily mean it is strong but it can help in some cases."
For additional assistance see Strong passwords: How to create and use them. After creating a new, strong password, use the Microsoft Password Checker.
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