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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tips For Creating Strong and Secure Passwords

Computer hacking happens when hackers who know your password do not have to resort to technological exploits, instead they can log on and do anything that you can do on the computer or network. Keeping your password secret is one of the most important things you can do to in information security to protect your computer against security breaches.

The first step in information security is creating strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed or deduced. Tips for creating strong passwords include the following: Do not use personal information for your password. Social security numbers, driver's license numbers, phone numbers, birth dates, spouse names, and pet names are all factual information that can be found out by others.

Do not use words that are in the dictionary, including words in foreign languages. Dictionary attacks try these words and combinations of them. Do use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Do not substitute numbers for letters to make words (for example, s0ph1st1cated). Hackers are aware of this trick. Do not use sample passwords that you see in security articles or books, even if they are exceptionally complex.

Generally, longer passwords are harder to crack because a brute force attack must try more combinations before finding a correct one. Windows XP allows up to 128 character passwords, although the welcome screen only displays 12 characters at the password prompt. You can switch to the classic logon screen, or just keep typing the characters after the password field appears to stop accepting them.

Do use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that have meaning to you so you - but no one else - will be able to easily remember the password. For example, mfcrB&G might mean EURomy favorite colors are Blue and Green to you, but to anyone else while computer hacking it looks like a random combination of characters. Do select a password that you can type quickly, to minimize the chance of someone discovering it by watching over your shoulder when you type it. However, do not use common key sequences such as qwerty.

After you create a strong password, you must keep it secure. Tips for keeping passwords secure in information security include the following: Never share your password with anyone else. Do not write your password down. This is the reason why you need to create a password that is easy for you to remember. If you disregard this advice and do write it down, keep the written copy in a locked off-site container.

Do change your password on a regular basis, even if your network policies do not require you to do so. Always change your password if you suspect it might have been compromised (for example, if someone was standing over you when you typed it). Do not use the same password for multiple purposes. For example, some people might use the same number combination for their ATM PIN, network logon password, e-mail password, and for all protected Web sites. If this password is cracked in computer hacking, all of your accounts and activities will be compromised.
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