Passwords are the bane and blessing of our computer experience. Whether you have a PC [or Mac or LinBox] you were prompted to setup a password [and I hope you did].
The typical user picks something familiar that is easy to type and easy to remember. There is one HUGE problem with this password – it is easy to break. Tools to pop this password have been created and are very accessible to anyone with internet access. These tools can bypass passwords that are eight characters or less even if they are alpha-numeric with special characters [i.e. “*”, “%”, or “)”]. Today, it is recommended, that our passwords should really be passphrases.
PassPhrases? Yes, something that you can remember and is structured like a sentence. “I meet my best friend in Junior High School in 1989″, this is an example of a possible passphrase. However, this in just the beginning. The next step is to insert special characters and additional number. For example: “1m33tmyb35tfr13nd1njun1orh1gh5ch00l1n!(8(”. Okay this phrase may be a little excessive; however, this statement is true and something that I know and is easy to remember. The hard part is to remember what things you changed, this is where being consistent is important. It is also much longer than an eight character password and the tools used to break the eight character passwords will not work and it will be much harder for someone to get into your computer or web account [meaning an account you have at any online site].
It would also be wise to change all, yes ALL, of your passwords to passphrases; it doesn’t matter what websites or computer systems you use, they will be safer that way. Now, the harder part is picking a different passphrase for each computer or website you access. Some of you are now scratching your heads and wondering why – simply, one passphrase will allow anyone who gets it to access everything you own.
I hope this helps, remember better passphrases mean less of a chance your eBay or bank account will get taken over. It won’t save you from a phishing eMail or pharmed web page; but it is up to you to read the web address in your address bar.