New Year, New Password: Why You Should Change to a Passphrase

Explore the importance of password security in the digital age with sage advice from educator Patrick Hausammann.

In today’s tech-savvy world, our online security hinges on the strength of our passwords. A brief Google search defines a password as “a secret or phrase that must be used to gain admission to something.” AVG, a leading cybersecurity provider, delves deeper into this concept, shedding light on the characteristics of strong and weak passwords.

A robust password poses a formidable challenge for both human guesswork and malicious software. Password strength, according to AVG, is determined by the time and number of attempts it would take for an unauthorized individual to correctly guess it.

As technology permeates every aspect of our personal and professional lives, safeguarding data behind a sturdy password becomes imperative. This crucial skill should not only be practiced by individuals but also instilled in our educational systems. As we embark on the journey of 2024, consider dedicating some time to review and enhance your current passwords, opting for longer, stronger, and more memorable passphrases.

AVG emphasizes the effectiveness of passphrases, describing them as strings of unrelated words used as passwords. Due to their word-based nature, passphrases are often easier to recall than complex passwords with various character types. A passphrase’s security lies in its length and the randomness of the words composing it.

The FBI, in alignment with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, asserts that password length outweighs complexity in terms of importance. To witness this firsthand, visit and input a vital password into the box. Take note of the time it would take to crack it. Then, allow the site to generate a passphrase and observe the significant difference in the time required to crack it.

For those keen on further exploration, resources such as Common Sense Education, Trend Micro’s Internet Safety, and more offer valuable insights for both educational purposes and personal knowledge enhancement. Educators, in particular, can find useful links below:

To reinforce the importance of password security, keep in mind the following tips and best practices:

  1. Use different passwords or passphrases for various sites and applications.
  2. Consider employing a password manager app instead of writing passwords down.
  3. Avoid sharing passwords, as this compromises the integrity of your security measures.

Patrick Hausammann is an ITRT in Clarke County Public Schools and an eMediaVA Ambassador.

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