Special Characters In Passwords?

Some folks pooh-pooh the use of special characters in passwords.

In 2022 we noticed that the NSA recommended the use of special characters in complex passwords.

Regarding the Cisco networking systems under consideration, the NSA press release advises:

“Cisco devices are used globally to secure network infrastructure devices, including across the Department of Defense, National Security Systems, and the Defense Industrial Base. Each device has plaintext configuration files that contain settings that control device behavior, determine how to direct network traffic, and store pre-shared keys and user authentication information. Any credentials within Cisco configuration files could be at risk of compromise if strong password types are not used.”

There’s a screen clip from the NSA Information Sheet, page 7 above.

As far as I’m aware, this is the first time the NSA has publicly recommended the use of special characters in passwords.

Whatever your feelings about the NSA, it’s hard to imagine they don’t know a thing or two about how to effectively keep secrets.

You’ll find links to the NSA Press Release and the Info Sheet below.

NSA Press Release dated February 17, 2022


NSA Cybersecurity Information Sheet


— Anthony Collette

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