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■    The word password


   Proper names


■    Your pet’s name


■    Your spouse’s name


■    Your children’s names


■    Any word in the dictionary


■    A license plate number


■    Birth dates


   Anniversary dates


   Your username


■    The word server


   Any text or label on the PC or monitor


■    Your company’s name


   Your occupation


■    Your favorite color


■    Any of the above with a leading number


■    Any of the above with a trailing number


■    Any of the above spelled backward


There are others, but these are the most commonly used weak passwords.

Using Characters to Make a Strong Password


Difficult-to-crack passwords do not have to be difficult to remember and include a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters (not just letters, not just numbers, not just special characters, but a combination of all three). Special characters are those that cannot be considered letters or numbers (for example, $ % л # @). An example of a strong password is tqbf4#jotld. Such a password may look hard to remember, but it is not. The following sentence uses every letter in the English alphabet: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Take the first letter of each word, put the number 4 and a pound (#) symbol in the middle, and you have a strong password.


To consistently get strong passwords, you can use auditing tools, such as a crack program that tries to guess passwords. If you use strong passwords, the crack program should have great difficulty guessing a password. Use special characters and numbers in the middle of the password, for example, under43gate@w#ay. Do not use just a regular word preceded or ended by a special character. Good crack programs strip off the leading and trailing characters in their decryption attempts.

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