Using a sentence as a password is a completely foreign concept to most of us. It seems strange to use multiple words with spaces as a password instead of the usual one-word mix of numbers and letters.
However, there are certainly some good reasons to use a sentence as your next password. Today, I’m going to list a few of those reasons.
-Avoid common word attacks
There are hundreds of common words in the English language. Every day, hackers type these common words into login forms and occasionally get lucky. If your password is something dumb like “Strawberry”, “Hotel”, or “Kitchen”, then you’re way more likely to get hacked.
You see, hackers rely on arsenals of common words in order to infiltrate the accounts of their targets. When one of these common words gives the attacker access to an account, it’s an easy victory.
-Avoid dictionary attacks
When hackers can’t get access to your account using common words, they turn to another solution: uncommon words. Hackers use programs that go through every word in the dictionary until they find the one that works for your account. So even if your password is an uncommon word – like “photomosaic”, “lifeboat”, or “quinoa”, the attacker will still get in eventually. If it’s in the dictionary, it’s a bad password.
-Avoid making a password that’s impossible to remember
The logical way to avoid both of the attacks listed above is to create a nonsense word with lots of alphanumeric characters.
One of the best ways to do that is to hit your keyboard with your first and create a password that looks something like this:
Do you see one major problem with that password? It’s stupidly difficult to remember. Unless you’re some sort of prodigy, you’re going to have trouble typing that into Facebook every day.
Sentences let you avoid this problem and make an uncommon password out of common, easy-to-remember words.
A lot of the evidence that comes from using passwords sentences as passwords comes from this research paper, where the writer, Thomas Baekdal, claimed that simple sentences like:
“This is fun”
Are 10 times more secure than any six-character alphanumeric code – even if it’s just gibberish nonsense.
Why are sentences so much more secure?
Using a sentence as your password makes sense because it extends the number of possibilities. Even if someone knows you’ve used a common word for your password, they’re going to have a difficult time guessing it.
Let’s say there are 800 common words in English and your sentence password includes three words:
800 * 800 * 800
That’s 512 million different password combinations – and that’s if you’re using common words for your password.
Of course, if you want to make your password even more impossible to figure out, using a sentence filled with gibberish random phrases. You could write something like:
-Snorkle snickle snoozlax
Or, to take it to another level, write something like
-!#$%kcl !Gxkfgh lkdaf
Either way, the hacker is probably not going to figure out your password anytime soon.
Are sentence passwords even allowed?
You might be surprised at what’s allowed in a password these days. Most websites allow users to use spaces, exclamation marks, and all sorts of different alphanumeric characters.
In fact, you can even use Alt codes on some websites. Insert a trademark symbol into your password using Alt+0153, for example, which gives you this: ™.
Using alt codes and gibberish defeats the point of using a sentence password, which is that you get an easy-to-remember password that’s also remarkably secure. Here’s what I recommend when building your sentence password:
-Choose a sentence with at least 4 words
-Choose uncommon words
-Choose words that don’t usually go next to one another, like “The French Horn Gallops Wildly” or something like that
The longer and crazier your password is, the harder it will be to guess!