Passwords are a big part of everyone’s lives these days. You can’t do a lot online without needing a pass code of some sort.
So today, I thought I’d share a little info on how to make a strong password, as well as some other interesting information regarding passwords.
A good way to come up with a unique password is by using an easy to remember phrase or sentence, and using the first letter from each word in the sentence to generate your password.
Using the sentence, “My car is red and cost 5 dollars”, for example, you can generate the password “Mcirac$5”.
Passwords, passphrases, and password managers
Diceware’s Arnold Reinhold has advised the use of long but memorable passphrases rather than complex passwords.
For example, a passphrase like correct horse battery staple is easier to remember than a password such as “Dej3ct1ng+9” – and the passphrase is also more difficult for password-cracking programs to guess.
Reinhold says users should use Diceware passphrases of at least six words long to ensure that they can’t be cracked quickly.
“Six words may be breakable by an organisation with a very large budget, such as a large country’s security agency. Seven words and longer are unbreakable with any known technology, but may be within the range of large organisations by around 2030. Eight words should be completely secure through 2050.”
However, some online services restrict the length of passwords, which makes the use of passphrases impossible. That’s where the sentance/phrase/first letter method comes in handy.
Other security researchers have recommended that users adopt password managers such as 1Password, KeePass, or LastPass.
These services let you generate random passwords of variable length and store them in a secure way. They also synchronise your passwords across devices.
While not foolproof, security professionals argue that you will see more success getting people to use a password manager than trying to get them to create and remember secure passwords.
Security applications provider Splashdata has released its list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet.
The list revealed that “123456” remains the most common password, followed by “password” and “12345678”.
Splashdata’s Worst Passwords report is compiled using millions of leaked passwords over the last year.
The list of passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak passwords.
“Passwords based on simple patterns on your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are,” said SplashData.
“Any password using numbers alone should be avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure.”
Here are SplashData’s Worst Passwords of 2015:
Top password tips:
- Do not enable the “remember me” function available on websites to remember passwords. If someone else gets access to your computer just think about all the social networks and shopping sites they can enter.
- Do not share passwords with anyone.
- Never use personal information such as your name, birthday, or spouse’s name in a password as personal information is often publicly available.
- Create a long password. A password should be at least six characters long, but should ideally consist of 12 characters if the site allows it.
- Do not use the same password for each account. If someone discovers a person’s password for one account, they will be able to access all the other accounts.
- Attempt to create a password that is a combination of numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters if the website allows it.
- Avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary. For example, swimming1 would be a weak password. Random passwords are usually considered to be the strongest.
- One can use a tool such as password generator to create strong passwords.
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