If you are currently using an 8 character (or less) password than you really have no security at all. With today’s cheap and fast computing power, a skilled hacker can crack an 8 character password in under two hours. And it doesn’t matter if your password is “H%gd1f4&” or “password”. Today’s fast computers will iterate through all possibilities, from AAAAAAAA to zzzzzzzz (or for you computer geeks: from !!!!!!!! to ~~~~~~~~) and everything in between, in under two hours.
For now, it is best to switch to a 12 character password. Using current computer power would take about 17,000 years to crack. However, computer speed continuously increases, so that number is shrinking by the day.
So what to do? Experts say that thinking of a “pass-phrase” rather than a “password” would be better: think of a phrase like “The Capital Of Canada Is Not Beavertown!” or “My son’s name is not Sally” or even “Count Iggy is Not a Canadian”. Of course, there are still a large number of online businesses and even banks that do not allow passwords longer than 8 characters. This will have to change soon, so you better get ready memorizing that new pass-phrase!
Here’s the link.