Joined: 05 June 2005
Is your password fool-proof?
A flood of passwords for everything from e-mail accounts to PIN numbers to customer IDs for online purchases has most computer users engaged in a never-ending memory game. Result: many a times to escape the nightmare of forgetting our passwords, many of us end up going for simple easy-to-remember passwords.
Remember, while easy passwords leave little room for forgetting, they leave a lot of scope for tinkering by cyber hackers. With Net becoming an important repository of our personal information both financial and otherwise, the stakes can be high if the same is tampered with.
So, how can you make sure that your passwords are secure? Here are few simple tips. But before we get on to them remember: Passwords shouldn't be so cryptic that you forget them. But they need to be secure enough to protect your documents. So a good password has to be easy enough to remember but remain too tough to guess.
Varied combos work
"The more varied the combination, the greater the security," says Andreas Selle, a Munich-based computer programmer who develops password software.
A must No's are your spouse's or child's name or birthday. They are most easy to figure out. One they can be easily guessed by those known to you. Also, decryption software makes such words easy for hackers to figure out.
Try using some mixed combos that can secure your documents. Take a word or a phrase and remove all the vowels from it for example "I love pizza" becomes "lepzz".
Another smart way to develop a secure password is to combine small words to make a single password. For example, you can use "yesnomay". And, to make it more safe capitalise the first letter of the different words.
An easy trick to remember your password is to mix words. Choose two of your favourite words and combine their letters to create your password. For example: love & game. Password would be 'lgoavmee'
Longer, the better
Length is a huge advantage to memorise your password. Phrases are easy to remember like "It was a stormy night". Words that can be found in a dictionary are not really a hurdle for decryption programs.
The longer a password, the more secure it is. For, every extra character increases the potential for more possible combinations. Anyone who uses a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and special symbols make things hard for decryption software.
Creativity also comes handy while securing a password. For example, 123abc is really not a secure password. Think of a word, say name of your favourite book or a movie you recently saw. Type that name using the numbers on telephone. The letters will now turn into numbers.
Also you can experiment with roman numbers. Change numbers into Roman numerals like iamsweet2 becomes iamseetii. You can also mix standard numbers with Roman numerals say 1II=12 and so on.
No repetition, please!
With the number of passwords required going up, many a times people end up having same password for most of their accounts. However, security experts term this "suicidal".
According to them, under no circumstances should computer users use the same password for more than two programmes or services. As this means everything gets hacked into as soon as one password is broken into.
Users can also take the help of programs like password managers, such as PasswordSafe or Roboform to generate random passwords and then secure them using one master password.
Similarly, it is also a bad idea to copy and paste a password between documents and applications. So, never do this, as you don't know who else may be using your comp in these days of PC voyeurism.
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Joined: 07 January 2007
Joined: 05 June 2005
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