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(operating system)
A string of words and characters that you type in to authenticate yourself. Passphrases differ from passwords only in length. Passwords are usually short - six to ten characters. Passphrases are usually much longer - up to 100 characters or more. Their greater length makes passphrases more secure. Modern passphrases were invented by Sigmund N. Porter in 1982.

Phil Zimmermann's popular encryption program PGP, for example, requires you to make up a passphrase that you then must enter whenever you sign or decrypt messages.
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A secret word or code used to serve as a security measure against unauthorized access to data. It may be used to log onto a computer, mobile device, network or website or to activate newly installed software in the computer. However, without additional measures such as biometric identification, the computer can only verify the legitimacy of the password, not the legitimacy of the user (see biometrics).

Password Synonyms
"Passphrase," "passcode" and "PIN" are synonymous terms for this type of identity mechanism. A "key" is sometimes used as a synonym for password; however, this usually refers to a code generated to encrypt and decrypt messages or to unlock software. See PIN, one-time password, password manager, public key cryptography, password spraying and NCSC.

Password Tips from the NCSC

The following six password safety tips are from the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC):

1. CHANGE PASSWORD FREQUENTLY - The longer you use a password, the higher the risk.

2. USE GOOD PASSWORDS - Do not use persons, places or things that can be identified with you.

3. DON'T DISCLOSE YOUR PASSWORD - Your password is as valuable as the information it protects.

4. INSPECT YOUR DATA - If you suspect someone has tampered with your files, report it immediately.

5. NEVER LEAVE AN ACTIVE TERMINAL UNATTENDED - Always log out or lock your terminal before leaving it.

6. REPORT SUSPECTED COMPUTER ABUSE - Whether directed against you or not, abuse or misuse of your computer resources only hinders the timely completion of your tasks.

Check Your Password Strength
Go to and type in your password to find out just how secure it is.
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References in periodicals archive ?
For laptops or desktops, use a pass-phrase akin to a complete sentence.
For laptops or desktops, use a pass-phrase, which is akin to a complete sentence.
When you call up you will be asked to say a pass-phrase or provide some answers to some basic questions and the results of those answers will be checked against your voice.'
Perhaps you could let customers send a temporary one-time-use authentication token to their mobile devices so that the real user can take that token and log into the site and create a new pass-phrase. Presumably everyone has mobile phone these days, right?
In fact, adding numeric characters to a password - creating a pass-phrase - can significantly increase the time needed by even the best cracking software, running on the latest six-processor equipped machine, to the point where brute force hacking of pass-phrases becomes impractical.
usecFile generated keys sets are protected by a strong pass-phrase, so keys can be safely stored at-rest or emailed independently of firmware images.
"If you are ever going to store sensitive info on your mobile phone, you must ensure it's protected by a good password - or even better a pass-phrase," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for security firm Sophos.
For example, SpectraLogic's BlueScale Encryption solution encrypts key copies (exported keys that can be stored elsewhere) using a pass-phrase chosen at export time.
But apparently the pass-phrase ``my grandmother was Welsh'' is sufficient for ingratiation.
When Mark receives the secured message, he calls up the SecretAgent program on his laptop, and asks it to decrypt the file based on his pass-phrase.