What Makes a Strong Password?

Understanding the basics of password strength will not only bring peace of mind, but it will also bolster the users’ defenses against cybercrime. Keeping accounts secure is very important in this day and age.

Password Chart

Password strength comes from using a sufficient combination of numbers, letters and symbols. Each added letter, number or symbol, makes it far more difficult for any bot or human to guess.

The chart above shows the strength of passwords against bots that would try to crack them.

The vertical side of the chart shows the number of characters, and the horizontal side shows the combination of parameters that bolsters its strength.

As we can see, at 8 characters, which is the typical base for most websites, a password can still be cracked in only 8 hours. This is true even if it has at least one uppercase letter, number and symbol.

If we increase that to 12 characters, it would require up to 34,000 years to crack the password.

Though it seems crazy to think that only 4 more characters would increase the time that much, it comes down to mathematics and the odds of guessing each character correctly in the perfect sequence. Similar to the Powerball and Mega millions lottery tickets.

It is important to also realize that even though this theoretically says it would take 34,000 years, the Bot could still get lucky and crack the password, the same as players getting lucky and winning the lottery.

This is why it is especially important to secure all accounts with Two Factor Authentication, using either a cell phone number, alternate email, or Authenticator app/program.


The best thing to take away from this lesson is to practice proper account security techniques, and add more than the minimum required 8 characters to passwords.

For more tips on creating strong passwords check out this article, Creating Strong Passwords, by GCF Global.

If you have specific questions about Password Strength, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!

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