Are Your Passwords Strong Enough?

Strong password

I recently demonstrated a new website for my homeowner’s association. During this demonstration, I was required to log in with a user name and password. Since the laptop I was using for the demonstration was connected to a projector, everyone could see what I was typing.

No, the audience didn’t see my password. But they could see how many characters I had to type to complete my password. And by the time I was done with my password it looked like this:

********************

How Long Is Your Password?

A couple of people in the audience started snickering and then one finally spoke up and said, “Wow, how long is your password?” which was immediately followed up with “And how do you remember it?”

That’s when I was reminded about how little noobies take security seriously. Most noobies have such high-security passwords as these:

  • the word “password”
  • a pet’s name
  • a child’s name
  • a birthday, anniversary or other relevant date

Worse yet, noobies tend to use the same password on every website. Sure Amazon.com may be secure but that one-off website you visited to sign up for a freebie may not be. How long do you think it would take someone from that less-than-secure web site to try your user name and password on all of the other more popular web sites?

Unique Password for Every Website

In contrast, I use a unique password for every website that requires one. And I use passwords that no one, not even me, can remember. Here’s a perfect example. If I were to sign up for a new website today that required a password, here is what I would use:

alrKopH6EcK6CTIcfDaK

That is what is considered a “strong” password. In other words, not only is it difficult for a human to crack, it is difficult for a computer to crack. That’s why I use them.

Remembering Strong Passwords

Yes, this comes with a bit of an inconvenience. Since I can’t remember all of my strong passwords, I have to use a program to store all of my passwords. And I know what your thinking. What if someone cracks the password to the program I use to store my passwords? Well, believe it or not, I have an answer for that too. The software I use can be set to require the existence of a specific file or drive to allow access as well as require a master password. So if you want to get carried away, you can carry around a portable USB thumbstick and require your password program to have that thumbstick inserted into your computer before allowing access to the program.

Don’t Be Sorry Later

Now I’m no dummy. I realize most noobies reading this are laughing at all of the precautions I take to secure my online identities. That’s because they’ve never had a problem. That is, they’ve never had a problem yet. Ask anyone who has lost all of the data on their computer because of a hard drive crash what their biggest regret it and they’ll tell you it’s not backing up their data.

Take the precautions now so you won’t be sorry later.

Note: If you are wondering, I intentionally did not mention the name of the software I use to protect my passwords. I figure it’s like telling a burglar what brand of security system I have on my house. If you are interested in setting up one of the many password storage programs on the market, contact Noobie and we’d be happy to assist you.

Click to rate this post!

Previous

Next

2 Comments

  1. Erik Deckers

    I have begun using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. For a while, I was using lyrics of songs, like “someenchantedevening” or “startspreadingthenews.” I have also heard that super-long passwords like this are also secure. What’s your opinion on that?

  2. Stephen James

    I highly recommend a tough password for your bank account, main email account and ftp access, but it certainly wouldn’t bother me if my Twitter account or Facebook account were powned. Others that consider their online identity more vital to their business and livelihood would think differently, but my personal friends aren’t going to think any less of me.

    BTW, if you enter the captcha wrong and then click the “return to previous page” link on the captcha error page, commenters loose their entire comment! :-( I luckily remembered to copy my comment to the clipboard before posting which is something that everyone should do.