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Question: How do I choose a Strong Password vs a Weak Password?


My MySpace account was recently hacked. Someone told me that I should change my password, and I should use a "Strong Password".

What does that mean?



Hey Lil,

My condolences on the MySpace hack job. In truth, as poorly designed as MySpace is, I have a sneaking suspicion that the great regularity of account hacks has more to do with the programming of MySpace than with the strength of users' passwords.

However, that doesn't excuse using a weak password. Weak passwords are passwords that are incredibly easy to hack. What kinds of passwords are the weakest?

Let's say your username is lil2007. If you use lil2007 as your password, that's a very bad idea. Don't do it.

If you use "123456" as your password...another very bad idea.

If your boyfriend is Bill, don't use "ilovebill" as your password. All the hacker has to do is look at your MySpace profile and find that you never stop talking about Bill, and guessing "ilovebill" becomes an obvious choice.

Now, what about a STRONG password?

Strong passwords are passwords which are much harder to guess. Here are a few tips for you:

  • Use a lengthy password - minimum 8 characters

  • Don't just use letters. Use a mixture of letters and numbers and symbols

  • Include both upper case and lower case letters

  • If you must use a word/phrase, substitute some numbers for letters, and do some misspellings. Thus, 'ilovebill' becomes '1Luv8ilL'

Once you've created your password, some people will tell you NEVER write it down. I'll tell you that it's better to write it down (and keep it in a safe place!) than to do any of the following:

  • Messaging it to a friend's MySpace account (because then, if THEY get hacked, you're automatically hacked too!)

  • Saving your password on computers you share (school computers, library computers, work computers, etc) Saving your password is like inviting people to login as you!

If you choose a Strong password and you are careful not to do anything to damage the secrecy of your password, then your online information will be much more secure! (But I still wouldn't recommend putting private/secure information on MySpace!!)

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