Password Security

Now, more than ever, having secure passwords is important. Recent developments in the computing field are increasing the potential potency of password cracking programs.

Here are some tips on creating a strong password:

  • Avoid common words or passwords. A popular, and very successful method for cracking passwords involves trying every word in the dictionary, as well as lists of common passwords. Check this list of common passwords and avoid anything listed.
  • Avoid names, places and birthdays. For example, Mary1985 would be a bad choice if your name is Mary, and you are born in 1985 because they are easily tied to you.
  • If possible, include uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters. It increases the complexity of your password and can greatly improve the time it would take to ‘crack’ your password. For example, darlbringer would take 30 hours to crack, but d4rlBr1nger! would take 1 year to crack. These are estimates from here.
  • Use a passphrase. A passphrase greatly increases the potential time it would take to crack your password. The best way to choose a passphrase is 4 random words of any length. For example, Big b00ks are best! This would take an estimated 4000 years to crack with todays technology. This is an estimate from here. Not all systems support spaces, but if possible, include spaces because it increases the overall character count, thus increasing the length of time to crack the password.
  • Don’t use the same password for more than one site. This is one of the leading causes of hacked accounts. If the same username and password combo are used on multiple sites, when one site is compromised, that username and password combo should be considered compromised on all other sites where it is in use.

Following these tips does not guarantee your passwords are uncrackable, but greatly increases the time investment needed to crack your password.

Please keep in mind that these passwords are examples only and should not be used.

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