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Posted by on in Best Practices

Passphrase vs. Passwords

Data EncryptYou've obviously heard of passwords, but have you heard of passphrase? There is a distinction, and in many cases they can be more secure and easier for you to remember. Read on for the difference and how it can possibly make things more secure for you.

We briefly chatted about pass phrases when we talked about password managers. A strong password is usually something with a bunch of random characters, mixed-case, numbers, even symbols, and a minimum amount of characters. You'll end up with passwords that look like this: 0r3gOnDuck$. But what you may not realize is that longer passwords with easier-to-remember words are frequently more secure? So instead of 0r3gOnDuck$, your password could be “Ducks are better than Beavers!”. Yes, you can have spaces in many password systems. (Full disclosure: I'm a U. of Oregon grad, boss is an Oregon State grad, those are the mascots of both schools, so I'm sure I'm going to hear about this.)

When a system is trying to break into your password using a passphrase versus even a complicated password, the math (depending on who you ask) backs up longer random-word passphrases that are easier to remember being harder to crack with brute-force tools. That passphrase suggestion I had above also had capital letters, special characters (spaces and exclamation points) and was much longer than my original password. Long story short, a long, easy-to-remember passphrase might be more secure than a shorter, harder-to-remember, password.

The same rules mentioned before in our password manager blog post still apply. You should still enable two-factor authentication where possible and you should always use unique passwords on every site (password managers help with that). Just like passwords, passphrases should not be from a common phrase. “One small step for man” is not ideal as it's a very common, well-known phrase.

This is just another way to think about the way you keep your information secure. Combining all these tips, and you should have your information locked down fairly tight

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Guest Saturday, 23 September 2017