I am re-posting a series of articles on passwords. Most of us are vulnerable to many and varied threats to our computers, and we must do everything we can to protect against these attacks. The proper use of passwords is essential to be more safe in this incredibly dangerous environment we’re exposed to each time we use the Internet or open an email. Your attention and response to this four part series will arm you against many threats.
We know that the longer and more complex a password, the more strength it has to defeat hackers and their password-breaking software. And we know that the password’s complexity is based on the use of capital and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. But how do we create a strong, long, complex password that we can remember…after all, we’re only human and most of us don’t have photographic memory.
Here’s an excerpt from a Microsoft Corporation article on strong passwords that will explain some very simple and straight forward recommendations on how to create strong passwords.
Create a strong, memorable password in 6 steps
Use these steps to develop a strong password:
|1.||Think of a sentence that you can remember. This will be the basis of your strong password or pass phrase. Use a memorable sentence, such as “My son Aiden is three years old.”|
|2.||Check if the computer or online system supports the pass phrase directly. If you can use a pass phrase (with spaces between characters) on your computer or online system, do so.|
|3.||If the computer or online system does not support pass phrases, convert it to a password. Take the first letter of each word of the sentence that you’ve created to create a new, nonsensical word. Using the example above, you’d get: “msaityo”.|
|4.||Add complexity by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. It is valuable to use some letter swapping or misspellings as well. For instance, in the pass phrase above, consider misspelling Aiden’s name, or substituting the word “three” for the number 3. There are many possible substitutions, and the longer the sentence, the more complex your password can be. Your pass phrase might become “My SoN Ayd3N is 3 yeeRs old.” If the computer or online system will not support a pass phrase, use the same technique on the shorter password. This might yield a password like “MsAy3yo”.|
|5.||Finally, substitute some special characters. You can use symbols that look like letters, combine words (remove spaces) and other ways to make the password more complex. Using these tricks, we create a pass phrase of “MySoN 8N i$ 3 yeeR$ old” or a password (using the first letter of each word) “M$8ni3y0”.|
|6.||Test your new password with Password Checker Password Checker is a non-recording feature on this [Microsoft.com] Web site that helps determine your password’s strength as you type.|
Well, there you go…the six steps to creating a strong password that you can remember. Good article, huh? I suggest you follow the Password Checker link in this article to take advantage of a great tool to measure the strength of your newly created passwords. In my next post I’ll discuss some do’s and don’ts on care and feeding of your passwords.
Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.