Better Passwords

A recent article from Gizmodo goes into the finer details of password creation, and tells it to us straight: our passwords are probably not secure enough. Why, you ask? Because they’re probably spread over too many sites, is too personal and too short.

This is not a minor issue.

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The article points out that the biggest threat to your online security isn’t some dude trying to guess your password - hackers use a variety of software applications that make thousands of attempts to crack your password per minute.

There are several “tricks” commonly used by people that password-cracking applications already account for: “Leetspeak” (substituting numbers for letters) won’t work because these cracking apps will try “Leet” versions of words before they try the correct English spelling. Using dates (like your birthday) are right out too, since these programs know that if there is a string of 4 numbers in a password, chances are it starts in “19″.

Using one password across several different accounts is also a big no-no, since if your password is cracked on one site, it will be tried on others…

So what can you do? The author offers a few suggestions:

1. Make your password long - really long. Experts suggest that all passwords be at least 12 characters in length (apparently, adding even one more character to your password makes it exponentially harder to crack).

2. Use pass phrases: a useful trick to help you remember all those characters! Use something personal, because that makes it easier to remember. One suggestion is to start with a line from one of your favorite songs, then pull the first letter from each word in the line and stick them together in one big jumbled-up word - it’ll be easy for you to remember, but difficult to crack.

3. Use every character possible: letters (captialized and otherwise), numbers, parentheses, all the weird symbols you find scattered around your keyboard.

“And how am I supposed to keep track of all these long, difficult passwords?” An excellent question! Gizmodo has a handy list of password management services (we like KeePass, mostly because it’s free).

The writer of the article wrote the post to let people know about Change Your Password Day (which is today, actually) and to help people take greater control of (and strengthen) their online security.

You can find the full article here - don’t forget to comment below!

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