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Passwords

November 25th, 2007
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. : : Currently listening to: Breaking Benjamin – Until The End : : .

I just saw a bulletin on MySpace that makes me want to rant here a little bit. It’s mostly dealing with passwords, but there are some other general PC security tips here as well.
First and foremost, create secure passwords. A good strong password will contain at least three of the following:

  • Upper Case Letters
  • Lower Case Letters
  • Numbers
  • Special Characters (such as & * % $, etc)

Sometimes system owners/administrators make it where special characters are not allowed. If the system will allow them, use them. It helps tremendously. There are also tips and tricks for creating passwords. For instance, never use part of your name, birthday, girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/pet/children’s name or birthday. It also helps if you create some sort of sentence or phrase and use the letters of each word (and punctuation) to make your password. A good rule of thumb is to create at least an 8 character password as well. The longer the password, the harder it will be for someone to crack it.
Never store your passwords on shared PC’s/workstations. I know it’s very easy to just let the PC remember the password. But if it is a shared PC, then you’re asking for someone to come behind you and look at your info. Be mindful when storing passwords on non-shared PC’s as well. Remember, these PC’s can be stolen or hacked. This makes all your stored info vulnerable.
Never write your passwords down. If they are too complex to remember, then find another password. A password should never be too complex for the owner to remember. If you feel that you must write down the passwords, get a password storing program. Such programs encrypt the files that contain the passwords and require a password to open them. These types of programs are extremely helpful if one has lots of passwords to remember. I don’t have any experience with these programs. If you have any good info, please leave a comment.
Here are a few sites that contain good password creation tips/methods:
http://www.securitystats.com/tools/password.php
http://searchwindowssecurity.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid45_gci1044739,00.html
http://uit.tufts.edu/?pid=232
In addition, here are a couple of sites that will check the “strength” of a password:
http://www.securitystats.com/tools/password.php
http://www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/password/checker.mspx
Please leave your comments if you have any other password ideas to share!

wyldrob PC Stuff, soapbox