Internet Security: How “Strong” Are Your Passwords?

Security Password Postit

Image: Prisma Bildagentur AG/Alamy

Your Internet security depends on a lot of factors, and one of the most important is the strength of your passwords; or in other words, how long it’ll take a hacker to guess it. The password is similar to the lock on the doors of your house in that you need to have locks and they must be strong enough to discourage a burglar. Likewise, a password that’s harder to guess will discourage a hacker who has access to other, easier to guess, passwords.

The strength of a password can mean the difference between a hacker guessing it in less than a second or taking days to do so. Believe me, a hacker will not stick with a password for days, even with computer based password cracking software employed. This is because they, like a burglar, seek the targets of least resistance in order to strike quickly and get away.

We’ve all heard that our teenagers know more about, and are more comfortable with, computers than the older generation. I believe this to be true, in fact our youngsters who were brought up around computers have been labeled “native computer users” while those of us who have been exposed to computers only during our adult life are labeled “immigrant computer users.” Well, our teenagers may be more comfortable with computers, but a recent article on the strength of passwords in NewScientist states that after an analysis of nearly 70 million Yahoo! user passwords; those over 55 years of age or older picked passwords which were twice as secure as those picked by teenagers. Imagine that! Perhaps our teenagers are too comfortable around computers and don’t take seriously the threats we face. Whatever the reason, the older folks have outshined them on this issue.

The study, by the University of Cambridge, also stated that “A comparison of different nationalities found that German and Korean speakers choose the strongest passwords, whereas Indonesians pick the weakest.

What about you? Are you picking strong passwords? And I’m not just talking about the password for your online banking account, I’m also talking about the password for your Facebook account, your Gmail account, your Yahoo account, your LinkedIn account, and any other social networking account you have. Social networking computers are being attacked to steal passwords and other personal information in order to foster identity theft. See Internet Security: Identity Theft…Are You Part Of The Problem?

If you aren’t sure how to pick a strong password, see my article Passwords Revisited and after you’ve picked one you think is strong; go to Microsoft.com to use their password strength checker to see how well you’ve done.

Reference: NewScientist.com

As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.

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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

paulshomecomputing(at)yahoo.com

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