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Internet Protection and Password Security


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How would you react if you found out that your email had been accessed without your permission? How would you feel if all your personal and private information had been leaked and was available for anyone who wanted it? Doesn't sound very comforting does it? Well, there is a way to avoid all that and remain reasonably assured that your information is secure. It's all about good passwords...

Good passwords are hard to come by. If you suddenly and without much warning had to pick a password to access your computer, or your favourite website, or your internet banking facility, what would you do? Most people would make their password their name, their partner's name, their birthday, their partner's birthday, their favourite colour or book or movie or character. You can probably already see a pattern forming here, can't you? Ok, now for the scary part: these are all easily guessed and your personal information is like a bank who holds all your money.. on the foot path where everyone can see it and grab it!

So how do we fix this? We think up a better password. Does that mean something long, awful and cryptic that you wont remember and will probably have to write down in case you forget it? Please no! That's the sort of password that snooping people want! So we need to strike a balance somewhere One that is much more than some simple detail, yet cryptic enough that it couldn't be guessed too easily.

Let's begin with a name, say Andrew. Now, say Andrew wants something simple, yet based on his name which will act as a "keyword" to help him easily recall his password. We'll mix in some UPPER and lower case characters and some numbers to replace letters, also known as elite speak, or 1337 speak. He might come up with up AnDr3w. That's decent. Let's say Andrew is a keen internet surfer, he might try and combine his hobby with his password. We'll abbreviate "internet" as simply "net". Ok, we'll try the substitution technique again to get "n3T". Excellent! Now to combine them as two words. Now most people separate words with a space " ", but on the internet, that is best represented as an underscore "_". So, we'll combine them both using our new tricks to get "AnDr3w_n3T". Excellent!

Andrew now has a password that he can use comfortably, simple enough that he shouldn't need to write it down ever and practically uncrackable. I say "practically" because given enough time, any password in the world can be cracked. But this one should keep the password crackers busy and by the time they're even remotely close to it, he's changed it and they will have to begin again.

Another trick is to think of a song or nursery rhyme, take the first letter of every word and do the same substitution technique plus add a number, e.g.: "baa baa black sheep have you any wool" turns into "bbbshyaw" and "humpty dumpty sat on the wall" turns into "hdsotw2005". Let your imagination run wild with the sorts of passwords you can create using this technique.

So the next time you hear of someone's account being broken into, or see someone trying to find a sticky note with their password on it, just remember, with a password created using the above techniques you wont really have to worry as much about either of those problems.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-23 11:42:59 in Computer Articles

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