Password Security: Short and Complex versus ‘Short or Lengthy’ and Less Complex

By Akemi Iwaya on June 28th, 2013

Creating secure passwords for our online accounts is a necessary evil due to the huge increase in database and account hacking that occurs these days. The problem, though, is that no two companies have a similar policy for complex and secure password creation; then factor in the continued creation of insecure passwords or multi-site use of the same password and trouble is just waiting to happen. Ars Technica decided to take a look at multiple password types, how users fared with them, and how well those password types held up to cracking attempts in their latest study.

The password types that Ars Technica looked at were comprehensive8, basic8, and basic16. The comprehensive type required a variety of upper-case, lower-case, digits, and symbols with no dictionary words allowed. The only restriction on the two basic types was the number of characters used. Which type do you think was easier for users to adopt and did better in the two password cracking tests?

You can learn more about how well users did with the three password types and the results of the tests by visiting the article linked below.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Are shorter, more complex passwords better or worse than using short or long, but less complex passwords? What methods do you feel work best since most passwords are limited to approximately 16 characters in length? Perhaps you use a service like LastPass or keep a dedicated list/notebook to manage your passwords. Let us know in the comments!

Password complexity rules more annoying, less effective than length ones [Ars Technica]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 06/28/13
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