HOW TO: 5 Tips & Tricks for Stronger Passwords…

Last week, we talked about how tens of thousands of webmail accounts were compromised and wrote another post with 7 tips to protect yourself from phishing. In this post, we will focus on some tips and steps that will help with managing and strengthening passwords.

Strengthening Passwords

May I help myself in?

May I help myself in?

Security professionals build many layer of security to protect a system from being compromised, yet the one problematic area that remains to represent the weakest point is the users’ passwords.

Users tend to be bogged down by how many passwords they need to manage. Hence, they tend to rely on simple passwords, that they often write down in accessible places. They also tend to use the same password for every kind of account!

A worker usually has to use 6.5 different passwords each of which is used for four different accounts/sites. Trying to keep all those accounts up to date and having a strong password for each one of them is a tough task. We’re not going to discuss the obvious: at least 8 characters long, use alphanumeric, lower-case & upper-case password with special characters, but we’ll make having such a password easier to remember.

In order for you not to be the weakest link in computer security, and to better live up to that task, we provide you with the following tips.

Tip 1 Speak English Very Best!

English words can be broken by dictionary attacks, where they use words from the dictionary to attempt to match them to the password. This attack is more efficient that brute force attacks, which attempt every possible alphanumeric (and special characters) combination. So using “proper” English words in the password will make it easier for your password to be compromised by this type of attack.

To counter this simply substitute some English letters with symbols and numbers. A “3” for an “E”, and “$” for an “S” and so on. Don’t stop there: misspell words, take out vowels from them or even reverse the word. These are simple methods to keep the password memorable and to further strengthen it against such attacks.

©2010 thoughtpick, copyrights reserved.