How many seconds would it take to break your password?

'Strong' isn't a detailed password-rating; go for a quintillions possible combos, then add a symbol

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Security breaches of mind-numbing size like those at LinkedIn and EHarmony.com set crypto- and security geeks to chattering about weak passwords and lazy users and the importance of non-alphanumeric characters to security.

And insisting on a particular number of characters in a password is just pointless security-fetish control freakishness, right?

Nope. The number and type of characters make a big difference.

[ Stupid security mistakes: Things you missed while doing the hard stuff ]

How big? Adding a symbol eliminates the possibility of a straight dictionary attack (using, literally, words from a dictionary. Adding a symbol, especially an unusual one, makes it much harder to crack even using rainbow tables (collections of alphanumeric combinations, only some of which include symbols).

How big a difference to length and character make?

Look below and pick which password-cracking jobs you'd want to take on if you were a computer. The examples come from the Interactive Brute Force Password Search Space Calculator: at GRC.com, the love child of from former InfoWorld columnist and freeware contributor Steve Gibson

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