How do I pick a secure password?

Your password should be at least 8 characters long and contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuation.

Choosing a secure password is very, very important. If your account is compromised, a malicious user could pay out your hard-earned winnings to their own account, or award your contest’s prize money to whoever they like.

The following are our hints for picking a secure password:

  • Don’t use words or phrases.

    Steer clear of words that you’re likely to find in a dictionary, as dictionaries are often used as the basis of hacking attempts.

  • Mix numbers, symbols and different cases.

    If you limit your password to 6 lowercase letters, there are only 309 million possible passwords. This may sound like a lot, but a computer would be able to generate this complete list in a matter of seconds, and such lists often form an important part of password cracking programs.

    By including uppercase letters, digits, and punctuation, this number grows to almost 690 billion — that’s more than 2,000 times more possibilities.

  • Pick a longer password.

    The longer your password, the more difficult it is to guess. There are only 309 million possible 6-letter passwords (if you only use lowercase letters), but if you add an extra two letters to the password, you have 208 billion possibilities.

  • Make it memorable.

    You still need to be able to remember your password. One way of remembering complex passwords is to come up with some kind of mnemonic — the password “Ia1o14c,MS” could be remembered as “I am 1 of 14 children, Mister Smith”.

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