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Edward Snowden explains good passwords to John Oliver (with help of Margaret Thatcher)

Technically Incorrect: In a new outtake of their now famous meeting in Moscow, Edward Snowden uses a password example that features Margaret Thatcher's legendary sexiness to show what a good password looks like.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Snowden's favored password is quite something. Last Week Tonight/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

For many people, passwords have an internal logic.

That logic can largely be described as "something short that I can remember internally when I'm drunk."

However, many passwords simply aren't safe. A machines can work them out in a trice. This was something that Edward Snowden tried to explain to John Oliver in Moscow.

In a new outtake from their now infamous chat about government security aired last Sunday, Snowden explained that a mere eight letters can be easily guessed by a machine.

As Oliver tried to offer up better permutations, Snowden explained that the best idea is a whole phrase that a computer just can't immediately guess. His suggestion: margaretthatcheris110%sexy.

There will be few who would argue that there was a certain something about the former British prime minister. (They might disagree about what it was, but still.)

There will be equally few who would argue that this phrase isn't entirely memorable to both body and soul. However, who wants to type all that every time they need to buy something from Amazon?

We are lazy. We believe we deserve (one of the most potently pernicious words in the language today) instant gratification. So we type "passwerd." Or, if we're really clever and work at Google, "passnerd."

And then we whine in a way that would have made Thatcher snort with her legendary and, apparently for some, sexy disdain.