What is a Passphrase?

A passphrase is a phrase or set of words used to control access to a computer system. Its like a password, but longer and stronger.

Comparison of Passwords and Passphrases
Type Example Password Example Passphrase Strength
Generated by a Person S3curity12! keep my account safe Weak
Short & Random :cW18VB3 pipe senses quick kiss Medium
Long & Random D&E(Ix+Ono9^ potential executive exploits 772 mechanical settings Very Strong

Why should I use a passphrase?

Given enough time, criminals are able to crack 80-90% of passwords in use today. Most passwords can be cracked in seconds. Even a completely random 8-character password can be cracked in a few hours with special hardware. Short passwords just aren't safe anymore.

Security experts advise using a randomly generated password that is at least 10 characters long to protect important accounts. But do you really want to memorize a password like [pC@'>z!<4 for your every one of your accounts? Probably not.

That's why passphrases have become essential. With a passphrase you can protect your accounts in a way that is easy for you to remember, as illustrated in this comic:

Source: https://xkcd.com/936/

How strong is a passphrase?

Five words randomly chosen from a list of 9,000 words produces a passphrase that is just as strong as 10 random keyboard characters. To make it 9,000 times stronger just add another word. The key to strength is the length and random selection. If you choose six words by yourself, your passphase could be predictable.

How can I remember my passphrase?

Memorizing a list of random words is fairly easy using a memorization technique called visualization and association. Better yet, use a passphrase generator that creates meaningful sentences that are easy to remember.

Where can I get a random passphrase?