The use of strong passwords is extremely important. These days a weak password can be guessed in seconds using very simple software. Even worse, 8 character passwords can now be cracked in minutes or hours with off-the-shelf equipment such as a high-end video card.
- Use pass-phrases that are tweaked to include digits and punctuation. A good pass-phrase is easy to remember, has at least 12 characters (a few words), uses mixed upper and lower case letters, and includes special symbols. For example: my-fri3nds*LAST_name!
- Use cryptographic passwords and a good password manager. A cryptographic password will typically contain at least 20 random characters including upper and lower case letters, special symbols, and digits. A good password manager (like KeePass) will create and remember your passwords for you and will store them in a strong encrypted format.