Steve tipped me off to a great little site that checks the strength of your password. The aptly named “How Secure Is My Password” will let you check the strength of your password and estimate how long it might take to crack it.

When you head over there, the first thing you’ll probably notice is this warning telling you that any site that asks for your password might very well be stealing it.

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The interface is simple, you just type in a password and it judges the strength and tell you how long it estimates it would take to crack your password on a PC.

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For example, let’s pretend my password is named after my dog Kevin. According to the site, that could be cracked instantly.

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If I click on show details, the site explains why it’s not a good choice. My password is short, common and contains only letters.

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If I change it up a little to something like BoxerKevin2012, it becomes much more secure.

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Realize that these calculations are for a human using a PC, not for some super-fact program designed to break passwords, but this password is still much more secure. Though I would caution against using your dog and his birth year for passwords. That’s the kind of information that people can find out rather easily and pet’s names and family birth years are among the first things a hacker would try when guessing your passwords.

We did a tip about a method for creating a password that it takes years to crack. Let’s check out a password generated using that trick.

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That does indeed seem like a few years. If you don’t want to put your actual passwords in here, you can just try passwords of similar length or chosen by a similar method as yours to test it out.

~ Cynthia