Passwords are out. Passphrases are in.

Remembering passwords for 80 different accounts is a challenge. We want to have unique passwords for every account, and it gets out of control quickly. How can a human be expected to come up with a secure password that can also be remembered? Passphrases!


Pass-phrases Graphic



Practice making a passphrase. The strongest passphrases will have at least 17 characters, spaces count!

  • Think of a set of words that have meaning to you and that you’ll remember. Do not include any personal information such as birthdates, addresses, or names. String together a combination of these words to create a random phrase. 
  • Add numbers and symbols to the phrase at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Now, test your passphrase ( and see how quickly it can be broken.

Quick Tip

Forget about replacing “i” with “1” or “for” with “4.” These techniques are so common now that the computer programs that crack passwords know them too.


Visit San José Public Library’s Virtual Privacy Lab