Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Celebration Florida Internet -- How Secure is your Password?

According to Wikipedia " A password is a form of secret authentication data that is used to control access to a resource. The password is kept secret from those not allowed access, and those wishing to gain access are tested on whether or not they know the password and are granted or denied access accordingly."

In a past life I was part of a team that managed the entire network security for Nabisco Foods. That was back in the days before the Internet really took off. Google wasn't even born yet!

I know Computer Security. Here are a few things to think about:

  • When was the last time you changed your password?
  • Is is one that some could easily guess?
  • How many sites do you use the same login id and password combination?
  • How many sites are you using different logins, but yet the same password?
  • Does your Facebook, Website, Email, Banking and other accounts all using the same password?

The most important question I have for you -- How safe are your passwords that you are using?

Sorry, I have a feeling that there is more than one person out there that is completely terrorized. If you have been bad at passwords, there is good news for you! You can correct the situation before it becomes a problem.

What Makes a good Password?

  • One that has a combination of letters (and a combination of upper and lower case), numbers and special characters (*&^%$#@)
  • Use a password that you can type quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by watching over your shoulder
    One that does not make sense
  • Don't use your Social Security Number, License number or Telephone number in your password
  • Must not have more than 2 characters repeated in a row - thus "ABCaaa" should not be used
  • One that contains at least 8 characters
    Don't use any form of your Login Name as part of your password, or your first or last name for that matter
  • Definitely not things like your name, your birthday, 12345, ABCDE, Password
    A password that is changed at least every 30 days, 14 days is better
  • Don't put it under your keyboard, mouse pad, telephone, store it in your Rolodex under P, or worse yet on a post-it note on your monitor, and don't carry it in your wallet! What if it were stolen?

A secure login password could be defined as one that does not fit into any would-be intruder's "universe" of intelligible words, or permutations thereof. In other words, an ideally secure password must appear as noise, totally random characters, devoid of any information. Do not incorporate into a password any information which is known to others, because this information can make life just that much easier for an intruder. Names of people, streets, dictionary words, new events, are all known by others and can be guessed.

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