The Power of Passwords

You should always use a password, not just any old password, one that no one can guess. Passwords are very hard things to crack and here I am going to explain why by showing you how you would go about cracking someone elses, for example a password protected WinZip® file.
Well, lets assume you know the password is no more than 8 characters long and that no special characters are used, only upper and lower case letters and digits. That gives you 62 possible characters for each letter of the password (26 for lower case letters + 26 for upper case letter = 52 + 10 for the digits 0 to 9 = 62).
This gives you a total of 221,919,451,578,090 (Nearly 222 Trillion) combinations. This is worked out by the number of possible characters to the power of the length of the password, so:
628 = 218,340,105,584,896
But you also have to add 627 and 626 and 625 and 624 and 623 and 622 and 621 to this number because we don't know that the password is 8 characters long, we only know that it is not more than 8 characters long!
Now lets assume you are running a computer which can hammer out guesses to the password at a rate of 35,000 a second (approximately a 800MHz PC), and lets also assume that the password is 8 characters long and it happens to be the last combination that we try. (sods law!), then it would take nearly 201 years (yes I did say YEARS) to crack the password.
Now this was with a password of only 8 characters long, if the password is 9 characters long then it could take over 12,000 years! Also we are not using any of the special characters that are available, of which there are another 194 bringing our total number of characters up to 256. Some passwords can be up to 64 character long! If we had to crack a password this complex then it would take a reasonable (you may have to scroll your page to see the entire number):
12,186,684,094,104,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1.22142) years, I don't even know how to say that number!. Oh, by the way, the dawn of time was about 16,000,000,000 (16 billion) years ago!
OK, so I am forgetting Moors Law that processor speeds double every 18 months, but even then it would take a huge amount of time. To all intensive purposes these types of passwords will never be cracked. That is unless we find a better way to crack passwords where we don't have to try every conceivable possibility.
Now all this would become useless if you use a password that is easy to guess, like your name, your pets name, your favourite movie star etc. etc. So use a password, but make is as long and cryptic as you can, oh and don't forget your password, as it is probably impossible to crack!
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