Why your ‘strong’ password isn’t really that strong

Font Size:

Some of the tips and tricks we use when creating a password may actually make us more vulnerable to hackers, according to the expert who originally designed password guidelines.

It turns out that using numbers and special characters may not offer you as much protection as you think.

The man who originally advised people to start putting numbers and special characters into their passwords was Bill Burr. Mr Burr worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and back in 2003 produced an eight-page document suggesting people protect their accounts by using passwords with obscure characters, capitals and numbers.

Recently, the now retired Mr Burr told the Wall Street Journal that he may have got it wrong. He now believes his advice, including a suggestion that people change their passwords every 90 days, has contributed to people creating passwords that are easily hacked.

Mr Burr believes that his advice steered everyday computer users toward lazy mistakes and easy-to-predict practices.

“Much of what I did I now regret,” Mr Burr said. “It just drives people bananas and they don’t pick good passwords no matter what you do,” he said.

The problem with the advice is that most people use the same tricks of substituting letters for numbers or special characters, and hackers are able to target those specific weaknesses and build algorithms based on these preferences, allowing them to crack the code in a short time frame.

How ‘strong’ is your password?

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Researchers may have discovered a way to create perfect passwords

There's a poetic way to create a secure password that's easy to remember.

Best password managers

We've found five of the best password managers to help you keep your digital world secure.

Should I save passwords in my internet browser?

Is the convenience worth the potential risk?

Written by Ben


Total Comments: 0



    continue reading


    What we know about the recently approved single dose vaccine

    Some health experts have expressed concern at the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with some stating that we 'only get...

    Retirement Income

    'Secret plan' to force retirees to use their home to fund retirement

    Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has backed the Retirement Income Review findings that retirees should use their savings more "efficiently" -...


    Do life insurance payouts affect the Age Pension?

    Geoff's death policy pays out to his children, not his wife. How does this affect the pension? Q. GeoffMy wife...


    Grip strength linked to mental disorders

    Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression can increase physical health risks and are a leading cause of disability. Globally,...


    Cucumber and Pineapple Salad

    Whether it's for a barbecue, taco, burger or chilli con carne, our Cucumber and Pineapple Salad will pep up your...


    Tobacco and childcare drive cost of living increase

    The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics...

    Age Pension

    Retirement system ‘uncertain for almost all retirees’

    Australia, a nation of almost four million retirees, has one of the world's best retirement systems. The 2020 Mercer CFA...


    The big question: How much do I need to retire?

    Life expectancies continue to rise, and with that comes a host of challenges. For governments, there's the increasing cost to...