Swish. You make
the final score.

10. You're correct. Security depends upon more than just the number of letters. An effective password must stand up against the tools that hackers have for cracking passwords. Although an eight letter password using all upper or all lower case letters has 208 billion possible letter combinations, it can be broken within minutes by automated password cracking programs that hackers can download from the Internet.

The difficulty of breaking a password is increased exponentially by using all four different types of characters  --  upper case letters,  lower case letters, numbers, and other special characters such as !@#$%^&*,;". Using both upper and lower case letters, instead of just a single case, increases the number of possible combinations for an eight-letter password from 208 billion to 53 trillion. Substitute a number for one of the letters, and there are 218 trillion possible combinations. Substitute one of the special characters for another one of the letters, so that all four types of characters are included in the password, and there are 6,095 trillion possible combinations. This is still crackable, but it would require a more sophisticated program, a far more powerful computer, and far more time.

Your password is the key to your computer   -- a key much sought-after by hackers as a means of getting a foothold into your network. An easily crackable password may give a hacker access not only to your computer, but to the entire network to which your computer is connected. Use a strong password and treat it like the key to your home. Would you leave your home or office unlocked?

Related Topic: Weak Passwords.