A guide to creating strong passwords

Use a mix of numerals, lower-and upper-case letters, and punctuation marks or symbols. And make it at least 12 characters long.

A password with 12 characters containing all four character types will take 1.74 centuries for a massive cracking attack at 100 trillion guesses per second to break. For a password with 10 characters, the time taken will be one week.
A password with 12 characters containing all four character types will take 1.74 centuries for a massive cracking attack at 100 trillion guesses per second to break. For a password with 10 characters, the time taken will be one week.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

As a result of the recent data breach of the SingHealth computer system, the personal particulars of about 1.5 million patients have been stolen. There are signs of a determined attack to get at information on the Prime Minister, and it is unlikely that the hackers are interested in the medical conditions of the other people. Whatever the intention of the hackers, the fact is they are now in possession of the personal data of a big group of Singaporeans.

It is well known to hackers that many people use personal information such as NRIC numbers (in the case of Singaporeans and permanent residents), dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers for their passwords. Also, the same password is used to access different online systems, portals and accounts. There is no doubt that there will be thousands among the 1.5 million SingHealth patients who do the same thing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2018, with the headline 'A guide to creating strong passwords'. Print Edition | Subscribe