Is Your Password Stupid?

Published On March 13, 2014 | By Tom Huskerson | Security

 

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Is your password just stupid? By the time you finish reading this blog you will know. First of all do you use “123456” or “password”? If so, then yes, it is stupid and you deserve the eventual consequences. By consequences I mean anyone can access your computer, your email and who knows what else. Because your password is stupid!

Passwords are actually a weak way to protect your computer or other sensitive electronic activity. Other activity includes online banking, shopping, dating or other social media activity or even any sensitive files you have on your computer. Using a stupid password is asking for trouble.

A stupid pass word looks something like this “Ljose”. Why is that stupid? Because it is the first initial and last name of the person who uses it. How easy would that be to guess? The first thing you need to do is forget about using a password and think passphrase. A passphrase is a series of words that are easy to remember then interspersed with symbols and numbers to make then extremely hard to guess. If you visit About.com’s website you can get a good idea of what good passwords look like.

But let me give you my example;

  1. Start with a phrase “Uzbekistan has smelly feet.”
  2. The run it together so it looks like this, “Uzbekistanhassmellyfeet.” Not that alone is a pretty strong password but let’s take it a step further.
  3. Add additional capital letters, symbols and numbers so that it ends up looking like this, “uBek1st@nh@sm33llyfeet”. Now that is an extreme and nearly unbreakable passphrase but it is exactly what you need to secure your digital world. Why?

Because thieves and cyber criminals use powerful password breaking software. It’s called a brute force attack.  A brute force attack is a computer that is dedicated to using every possible combination of letter, numbers, symbols, words and phrases until the password is broken. You can actually buy password breaking software on the Internet. So any one can get it and use it against you. You might not be the target of a sophisticated criminal enterprise but you never know who might be attacking your computer. Why? Because you probably use the same password for more than one website login. Such as your bank, your Facebook account and your favorite online store. If they break one password then it’s a pretty good bet they have everything they need to rob you. And leave you feeling…well…stupid.

Another thing you may want to consider is using a fingerprint scanner on your computer or tablet if it is equipped with one. This is known as a bio-metric identification device and they are extremely useful to secure your device. If your mobile device does not have a finger print scanner then you can download one from the Internet. You can also buy a fingerprint scanner online and integrate it into your laptop or desk top computer. Just do a search and a little research and you can find a free or low cost scanner for your computer. For Android devices you can check the Google Play Store for a free finger scanner. Apple devices such as the iPhone 5s come with a fingerprint scanner but there are mixed reviews as to how well they work. You can also check  appcrawlr.com for apps to secure you iPad and iPhone.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. He attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has returned to focus on writing both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and EbonyCandle. Most recently Tom has launched the blog African American Cyber Report. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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