Use a max length password.... or not?

  • SpinRite v6.1 Release #3
    Guest:
    The 3rd release of SpinRite v6.1 is published and may be obtained by all SpinRite v6.0 owners at the SpinRite v6.1 Pre-Release page. (SpinRite will shortly be officially updated to v6.1 so this page will be renamed.) The primary new feature, and the reason for this release, was the discovery of memory problems in some systems that were affecting SpinRite's operation. So SpinRite now incorporates a built-in test of the system's memory. For the full story, please see this page in the "Pre-Release Announcements & Feedback" forum.
    /Steve.
  • Be sure to checkout “Tips & Tricks”
    Dear Guest Visitor → Once you register and log-in please checkout the “Tips & Tricks” page for some very handy tips!

    /Steve.
  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

    GRC's “BootAble” freeware allows anyone to easily create BIOS-bootable media in order to workout and confirm the details of getting a machine to boot FreeDOS through a BIOS. Once the means of doing that has been determined, the media created by SpinRite can be booted and run in the same way.

    The participants here, who have taken the time to share their knowledge and experience, their successes and some frustrations with booting their computers into FreeDOS, have created a valuable knowledgebase which will benefit everyone who follows.

    You may click on the image to the right to obtain your own copy of BootAble. Then use the knowledge and experience documented here to boot your computer(s) into FreeDOS. And please do not hesitate to ask questions – nowhere else can better answers be found.

    (You may permanently close this reminder with the 'X' in the upper right.)

JimWilliamson

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2020
52
24
Which is more secure - to use the maximum length password a system will allow, or use a slightly shorter length password?

When using a password manager, it becomes trivial to use passwords that match the maximum length a system will allow. But, if that became practice, would that "known length" password be harder or easier to crack than using a password of slightly less than maximum length - say a random few characters shorter than maximum length? If max length became the norm - hackers would target that length only (or first).

Thoughts?
 
If the max password length allowed is short, using every character (bit of entropy) permitted is essential. If the max password length is large, it won't matter if they guess that you're using that many characters because it will take them an eternity to brute strength attack.

For expedience and the quickest returns, I expect the typical hacker to go for the low-hanging fruit first. That would bias their attacks on the shorter range of password lengths.
 
Last edited:
If we're talking 15+ characters, I presume you're using a password manager (or writing them in a book, the analog password manager.) In this case you should be making your password truly random. There is no opportunity for password cracking when your password is 25+ characters, and there probably never will be, no matter the advances in technology. So based on that fact, it probably doesn't matter either way, but length will always make it take [much] longer to theoretically attack. (The attack might go from 10x the age of the universe to 1000x though.)