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Repeating elements in passwords?

post #1 of 2
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I have a question about passwords that I hope y'alls can shed some light on.

I know repeating numbers more than once is generally considered a bad idea (eg tomato222).

Lately I've been thinking though, what if you took your favorite word and your favorite number and intermixed them?

Let's say your favorite word is kumquat and your favorite number is 63. Obviously kumquat63 is not very secure and neither is 63kumquat. What happens, though, if you intersperse them so that your password is k63u63m63q63u63a63t63?

Obviously the number 63 is in there seven times, but are password algorithms smart enough to test for recurring elements rather than repeating like that?

It seems like a very easy way to remember a VERY long password. You could even give yourself a hint "Favorite TnHuImNbGe?r"

Is that a good idea, a stupidly bad idea, or an unnecessarily complex idea which doesn't really do any good?
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post #2 of 2
It really depends on the algorithm being used. I know john (pw testing/"cracking" program) does stuff like try words in a dictionary + 1, 01, 001, 2, 02, 002, etc., but I'm not sure if they have such repetitions that you mentioned in the algorithm.

Having a long password is the single best thing you can do to make it strong. There are about 93 printable characters (lower-case, caps, characters, space, etc.) That means there are:

93 possible 1-character passwords
93^2 = 8649 possible 2-character passwords
93^3 = 804357 possible 3-character passwords

And so on. Every character you add multiplies the number of possibilities by 93. The objective of passwords is for them to be long enough (and random enough) that trying all possible combinations will take so long that even a computer can't do it before we're all dead.

Here's an xkcd that sums up passwords very nicely: http://xkcd.com/936/

It's much better to have a long pass-phrase that's easy to remember rather than a short, completely random one.
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