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Choosing an Effective Password

Think that the password for your computer system, e-mail, web site, web forum is secure? Well, you might be wrong.

There are many programs on the Internet that can allow someone to repeatedly enter words from the dictionary into your user name and password field to attempt to gain access. This type of attack is called a brute force hack. As many times your user name for certain things is your e-mail address or the word admin, all the malicious person has to do is figure out your log-in name and run this application for hours or even days to see if you have made your password a word contained in the dictionary file.

Common excuses I get from people I tell this to include: “But it’s hard to remember a number or something that I don’t use on a day to day basis.”

While I can understand and relate to that, having a secure password can reduce the amount of problems, and security issues you have to worry about. Also, many times if you create a properly secure password, you can use that one password on almost any site, as it will work for sites that require you to come up with a reasonable length password containing certain items.

One way to make a secure password, but simple to remember is to use an everyday word, but by making letters of the word into numbers, it makes it harder for a malicious user to guess my password.

Something that looks like the letter, for example, you can make an “E” into a 3. The word “Example” thus turns into “3xample”.

Most applications and sites now tell you to make at least one letter of the word you have chosen to be your password capitalized. Since many sites have it set up that a lower case “n” is not the same as an uppercase “N”, this makes it harder to figure out which letters of the word you have chosen to capitalize. For example, “WaShINgtoN”.

If you really want a secure password you can mix this two concepts. Here is an example of how the combination might look. Example: “4lPhaB3t”, which would be “alphabet”. Notice how the 4 looks like a little like an “A”?

One last tip to creating an effective password is that the longer you make your password the harder it is going to be for someone to figure it out.

Remembering these simple rules will help keep your things private.

[tags]Password, Effective Password, Smart Password[/tags]

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5 Responses to “Choosing an Effective Password”

  • Chris says:

    I have passwords like:

    fqYD34$#@
    e@HD72he

    Then I write them down with what service it is BUT I DON’T write the username. I figure usernames are easier to remember than passwords.

  • David says:

    Very good point Chris. You could even not have the service name as long as you only had four passwords to rotate through, and I am sure pretty quickly you’d remember which one goes where. Then all people would get is a list of garbage. :)

  • Jeff says:

    Yeah, i have 3 passwords i rotate through, my old one was ./2sn6p

  • Michael says:

    My favorite password to use for non-important sites is: computersux. Simple.
    When I update my password for my email accounts, I take a word that I would like to learn how to spell, then add “4Me” at the end. I do keep this new word written down just in case I forget what it is.

  • Annuaire says:

    My password is my nickname when I was 6 ! Only my mother can now it ! lol


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