A study at Georgia Tech Research Institute recommends that you use password at least 12 random characters long (and include letters, numbers, and symbols).
“‘Eight-character passwords are inadequate now … If eight characters is all you use, and if you restrict your characters to only alphabetic letters, it can be be cracked in minutes,’ said Richard Boyd, a senior researcher at GTRI.”

Via Slashdot. Source MSNBC via @wjrothman

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