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How Important Is Password Security?

November 21st, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Didn’t your Mom tell you not to play with fire? Weak passwords put your personal identity or business data at risk of being compromised. How important is password security? A simple Google search for password security just now returned over 540 million results – that’s significant! I cannot overemphasize how important it is to use STRONG passwords.

Some guidelines

  • Use at least eight characters, with mixed case letters (upper and lower case)
  • Use a password that can be typed quickly (to prevent over the shoulder spying)
  • Mix alpha numeric characters in a seemingly random manner.
  • Change your password regularly.
  • Do NOT use words that are included in any dictionary – even encrypted, these can be cracked in seconds!!
  • Do NOT use dates
  • Do NOT use information that can be easily obtained about you. This includes your nickname, your pet’s name, your hometown, etc.
  • Do NOT use all numbers or all alphabet characters – mix them!
  • Do NOT reveal your password to anyone!

There are any number of websites that help you understand - how vulnerable your passwords are – one of those is http://howsecureismypassword.net/ Simply enter your password and it will return how long it would take to crack it. Mine was six thousand years, but I could improve that by using a symbol instead of just letters and numbers.

Microsoft also has a password security strength checker - located at https://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/password-checker.aspx. Starting at a rating of STRONG, I had to add 10 symbols to raise that level of security to BEST. Going back to HowSecureIsMyPassword, when I typed in Microsoft’s BEST, here is the result I got - It would take a desktop PC about 523 sextillion years to crack your password. Works for me!

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