Building Password Strength

Good passwords are an important step to help protect access to your technology and information. Even though most websites are secure, there's always a small chance someone may try to access or steal your information, commonly known as hacking. A strong password is one of the best ways to defend your accounts and private information from hackers.

Whether they are strong passwords or weak ones, studies have revealed some alarming statistics about passwords.

  • 70% of people admit to using the same password for more than one account.
  • 43% of adults have shared their password with someone.
  • 31% of people keep track of their passwords by writing them down in a notebook.

Each of these behaviors can weaken the online security of your accounts and information.

Cybercriminals breaching computer systems are often looking for caches of usernames and passwords. The stolen passwords are archived with billions of others in online databases which are bought and sold by cybercriminals who feed them to botnets in hopes of cracking into accounts.

What Makes a Strong Password?

A strong password is one that isn’t easily obtainable, guessable, or accessible. It doesn’t matter how strong a password is if it can be found on a note stuck to your monitor or “hidden” under your keyboard.

Hackers use lists of common passwords in the hopes that one will work, and the length and complexity of a password are important to combat this. Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters (more for critical and high-risk systems) and should contain upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. The longer the password, the harder it is to break.

Tips for Making Passwords

A sixteen-character random password is very secure, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t remember it.  Here are some tips for creating secure passwords.

  • Create a “passphrase” using a sentence or part of a sentence, such as a song lyric, quote that you like, or a nonsense phrase that only you know. Type it with or without spaces and add in numbers and special characters to create a secure, memorable password.
  • Don’t include personal details like names and birthdates in your password. It might be easier for you to remember but could also make it easier for someone you know to guess the password.
  • Some products, such as a router, webcam, TV, toys, or home appliance, come with a default password. Change the password immediately. Default passwords could be found online or in a manual by a criminal.
  • Don’t use the same password across all your accounts. Once a login name and password are exposed in a data breach, criminals will try that same combination many more times across the web in an attack. This means that while your online bank accounts might normally be tough to hack, it won’t matter much if you used the same username and password for your favorite hobby website and that site happens to get hacked.

Password Managers

Password managers are applications that serve as a secure vault for all your passwords. They can generate your passwords for you so that you don’t need to remember them. The applications can typically go on both your computer and your phone, so your passwords are available to you anywhere. Password managers are considered one of the best ways to securely handle your passwords.


Helping you protect your financial information is important to us. For additional information on how to protect your accounts, visit

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