Passwords Matter

Posted February 14, 2011, 6:33 pm by

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Day 1 of RSA is in full swing, and I've already learned some great information.  One of my favorite topics these days is best practices for passwords.  Last year I was a victim of password theft.  My personal Gmail account was hacked.  After a day of having my friends and acquaintances bombed with spam from my account, I vowed to do a better job with my passwords.

During a session this morning, I heard a great suggestion for creating a complex password that's difficult to hack and easy to remember.  There are three elements as follows:

1.  Pick a unique phrase that's memorable to you only.  Something like, "Bill's girlfriend is from Spain".  Now, take the first letter from each word in the phrase.  In this example, it would be "bgifs".

2.  Add a non-alpha character - let's go with 7 in this example.  Now our password looks like "bgifs7".

3. Wrap the password using special characters - let's use "$" at the beginning and "!" at the end.

The final sample password is then $bgifs7!.  Now that's going to be hard to crack.  Of course, you shouldn't use the same password for multiple applications.  The key to this scheme is coming up with unique catch phrases for different applications. 

I'll keep my ears open for other practical tips to share from San Francisco this week.

 
Filed under: Security Threats
Edited February 15, 2011 by
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