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What is a passphrase and how do I use it?

Updated: Mar 29

If you have searched about how to create secure passwords you've probably encountered passphrases and thought, "What is a passphrase?" In this blog post, we will introduce passphrase concepts, share some password recommendations, and provide a video walkthrough from ANVCS.org, a leading provider of technology education for seniors.


Forget everything we've been taught about creating passwords. The old methodology results in passwords that are difficult for humans to read and remember but are easy for hackers and computers to crack. Passphrases are the opposite, they are easy for humans to read and remember but difficult for hackers and computers to crack.


Passphrases are inspired by a favorite vacation, picture, room, song, passion, etc. For example a favorite vacation spot brings to mind: seaglass, burgers, kayak, and seven pelicans. These words become the building blocks of a passphrase.



comparison of old password guidelines vs new passphrase guidelines
Password vs Passphrase

Now that we have the building blocks, let's finalize our passphrase by capitalizing the first character and placing underscores where there were spaces (we also substituted a number for the word seven...it's not necessary but simpler since we already have more than 16 characters total):


Seaglass_burgers_kayak_7_pelicans


To use the passphrase across multiple websites and services, we simply customize it by adding the first three or four letters of the site to the passphrase:


Facebook: face-Seaglass_burgers_kayak_7_pelicans


Google: goog-Seaglass_burgers_kayak_7_pelicans


If we want to mix things up a bit, we can add the letters of the site at the end or mix them in the middle:


Google: Seaglass_burgers_kayak_7_pelicans-goog


Google: SeaglassGburgersOkayakO7Gpelicans-goog


We hope these passphrase recommendations from ANVCS.org will help you create strong and secure passwords for your online accounts. Remember to never share them with anyone. Stay safe and happy online!


What is a Passphrase? -- Video Walkthrough:




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3 Comments


The thorough explanation of passphrases simplifies the process of creating strong passwords, ensuring enhanced online security for everyone. Thank you for the valuable insights!

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Didn't know what a passphrase was... very informative. Thanks!

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Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Mar 17

Very useful!

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