Slate: Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five Minutes

image This is for my friends and family and something that can easily be done to protect you from unscrupulous hackers. Slate provides some ideas including using a mnemonic to make it near impossible to guess your password.

“Start with an original but memorable phrase. For this exercise, let’s use these two sentences: I like to eat bagels at the airport and My first Cadillac was a real lemon so I bought a Toyota. The phrase can have something to do with your life or it can be a random collection of words—just make sure it’s something you can remember. That’s the key: Because a mnemonic is easy to remember, you don’t have to write it down anywhere. (If you can’t remember it without writing it down, it’s not a good mnemonic.) This reduces the chance that someone will guess it if he gets into your computer or your e-mail. What’s more, a relatively simple mnemonic can be turned into a fanatically difficult password.”  Read more…

Here is an example of guidance that is normally given. Most people won’t read through the whole thang.

To increase password strength and help prevent unauthorized access to <our> computer systems, passwords must:

  • Not contain your username.
  • Be at least eight characters in length.
  • Contain characters from three of the following categories:
    • English uppercase letters (A through Z)
    • English lowercase letters (a through z)
    • Numbers (0 through 9)
    • Special Characters (ex. !, &, #, $)

    Examples of poor passwords:

    • Passwords that are the same as the username.
    • Default passwords.
    • Passwords shorter than eight characters.
    • Passwords in all lower case, all upper case, or all numbers.
    • Anything from a dictionary.

    Examples of strong passwords:

    • Passwords greater than eight characters (longer the better)
    • Combinations of uppercase, lowercase, numeric, and special characters.
    • Passwords that contain a space make it significantly harder to guess.*
    • Passphrases are recommended by Computer Services as opposed to a single word.
    • Special characters in the middle of the password.

    Examples of bad passwords:

    • ‘password’
    • ‘1234’
    • ‘someuser’
    • ‘turtle’

    Examples of strong passwords:

    • ‘I paid $3,000.00 for thispc
    • ”My[super^*^STRONG]Pa55word’
    • ‘All $ign$ –> to GO’
    • ‘Take 12 months+ 2 CRACK’

    Be safe out there.

    About Gandalfe

    Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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    1 Response to Slate: Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five Minutes

    1. Jim says:

      Thanks, 1 needed that! Dad

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