Palisade Magazine

 
September 2006

Choose the most effective password

Quiz Graphic

Which of the following is the most effective password?

  1. XH#4@r4$8
  2. Kate1980
  3. Asterixh@sgoneHome

Click to view the answer →

The correct answer is (3) Asterixh@sgoneHome. Let’s see why it is the most effective password.

The password XH#5@r4$8 is a complex password that includes alphanumeric characters and symbols with a combination of uppercase and lowercase alphabets. E.g. Many a times, applications enforce the users to set a complex password. A complex password is usually difficult to crack but at the same time is also difficult to remember as they are random. Due to this nature, users often scribble it down in their diaries or use the remember feature or stick a note with the password on the monitor. These passwords are also sometimes vulnerable to attacks against the password generating algorithm. Though it’s difficult to crack a complex password, still it cannot be considered as an effective password because it’s difficult for a user to remember it. We had discussed about the use of complex passwords here.

Kate1980 is an example of a Simple Password. Users often like to use passwords that are easy to remember. A user may use a password which could be names of his/her child, spouse, or pet, or even the userid itself if the application allows to do so. It is not very difficult to crack such passwords as they are vulnerable to dictionary attacks and are also easy to guess.

So what then is the answer to having an effective password? Having a long and strong password will help. Let’s see how this is possible.

When we use a phrase as a password, it can be easier to remember and almost impossible to crack. These type of passwords are known as Passphrases. As in case of a complex password, a passphrase consists of a proper combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. But unlike complex passwords, passphrases form a meaningful phrase making them easier to remember for the users. For e.g. a passphrase like Asterixh@sgoneHome is easy to remember. In this case the password may be long but it is easy to remember as the sequence of characters are not random.

Hence an effective password is one that is not easily guessable but still easy to remember.

by Runa Dwibedi.