`C'mon, You Call That A Password?'

For hackers bent on thrills or destruction, guessing a computer user's password is often a piece of cake because many users choose passwords that are all too guessable. Password Coach, a program from Baseline Software in Sausalito, Calif., can help select a password that's easy for you to remember but hard for a hacker to guess. Priced at $395 for unlimited use on a network, the software subjects your password choice to 45 tests before approving it.

Password Coach will reject names of people and places, pop-culture words such as Batman, all variations of your user I.D., as well as sexual and curse words - all of which are very popular. Baseline President Charles Kresson Wood says that the strongest passwords often include numbers as well as letters, such as Lust/4Life. Others include unlikely compounds such as Pinkleathersofa, or offbeat acronyms such as TOTRAR-TYTD, which stands for "too old to rock and roll, too young to die." But since these passwords have appeared here, you should probably avoid them, too.

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