Thursday, October 06, 2005

Choosing a strong password

Password security is going the way of the dodo. As computers become more and more faster, a programmer’s ability to write programs to guess your password is becoming easier. The great thing about passwords is the only software/hardware requirement is a keyboard, which is a requirement for using a computer. Although, the main problem with passwords is that they can be cracked.

There are lots of technologies promising to replace the password, but the only one that has made it somewhat mainstream is fingerprint scanners. These devices are not perfect and there is no universal set of hardware/software standards that all computers can use to access these devices. I believe this is the greatest obstacle preventing adoption of this technology.

Choosing a Strong Password
Although there is some good news, if you create a strong password and change it on regular intervals you can thwart most people’s ability to crack your password. Remember that passwords are your primary front line defense for protecting most of your personal and financial data.

You might have heard the term ‘strong password’ but might not be sure what it means. Basically a strong password is one that is difficult to guess. The attributes that characterize a strong password are:
  • Words not found in the dictionary.
  • Never use names of people, places, animals or things. Also avoid using words formed from personal information about yourself (such as your name, address, pet's name, spouse's name, etc.)
  • Composed of 8 or more characters (Note: the longer the password, the tougher it is to crack).
  • Composed of numbers (0-9), upper and lowercase letters (a-z, A-Z), and punctuation marks (!#$%!$%^&*). Try to substitute punctuation and numbers for letters.
For example a hard to guess password might look like: A1467!bnc@. To make a password easy to remember, pick a common word then change characters in that word with numbers and symbols: P@ssW0rd or M1cr0S0f+.

Password Handling
The biggest problems with passwords are that they can be tough to remember, the more complex the password (or the number them you have to remember). If you know that you can’t remember all them, it might be a good time to find a password manager that you trust to help you manage them.

1 comment:

UberGeek316 said...

"Passwords are like your toothbrush, never share them with anybody and change it once a month"
-- Unknown