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What makes a good password?

What's incredibly long, impossible to remember, and filled with garbage?  The world's best password!  Consider the following four passwords:
  • sugar1
  • Harrisburg#1985!
  • C0mpl3x_Pa$$w0rd1
  • UV6fd[ENF:q8x#4"GvvU(%hj]-/GXz5)%47)Nj[4rw9*?lHk>4b8@Q,.JtrPM93T7W~n}Wh?y^8Sb\~6ezcbzH'>y`F{2s!V!hS=
The first password is easy to remember and easy to guess.  It's a common dictionary word followed by a number.  This password is so weak that our billing system won't even allow you to use it.  The second password is barely any better.  It uses a dictionary word followed by a character followed by a number (obviously a significant year) followed by punctuation.  Anyone who knwos anything about you (were you born in 1985?  Was your child?  Do you live in Harrisburg?) is going to crack that in minutes.  The third password gets a little better, but is still based on dictionary words.  At first glance it might appear "scrambled" because of the use of punctuation ... but hackers know those tricks, and already account for such simple substitutions in their attacks.  This password will break fairly quickly.

The fourth password is the only one that counts.  It's good.  Really good.  It's a 100-character trainwreck of random letters (in both upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols.  This is an extremely difficult password to crack and a virtually impossible password to remember.  But chances are you'll never remember a password like this.  That's why recommend the use of a secure third-party password manager such as LastPass.

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