Pssst what's the password?

It seems that everyday another website is attacked or taken off line. Not even the CIA is exempt from this and sometimes even a government is responsible (MI6 changing Al Quaeda website for making bombs into a website for making cupcakes). If you do not have a secure password, your innermost secrets could be exposed to the world. How do you know if you have a secure password? Well if your password is any of the ones listed below, it isn’t so secure.

  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. Password
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess
  7. rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123
  11. Nicole
  12. Daniel
  13. babygirl
  14. monkey
  15. Jessica
  16. Lovely
  17. michael
  18. Ashley
  19. 654321
  20. Qwerty

I know, I know, it can be hard to remember a password, even when it is only four digits long. If you have an iPhone, here are the most common passwords for your phone.

  1. 1234
  2. 0000
  3. 2580
  4. 1111
  5. 5555
  6. 5683
  7. 0852
  8. 2222
  9. 1212
  10. 1998

Not feeling so secure now are you? I appreciate that we all have so many passwords to remember, passwords for banking, Facebook, blogs, and so many more and yet, chances are you use the same password for at least two or more of these sites. While some systems restrict your password to eight letters, the longer you make your password, the better the chance of it not being cracked.

Generally speaking there are two ways to crack a password. Brute force and social engineering. Brute force is just that, a program that tries hundreds of thousands of passwords, one after another until it cracks it. Some brute force programs first use real words before trying combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Social engineering is sneakier. It usually involves someone contacting you under the guise of a bank or network support and who will try to get your login and password out of you. The more that the person knows about you, the more likely it is that the person will guess your password. For example, if you own a cat named fluffy, you may use that name as a password and then if you happen to mention to someone on the phone that you have a cat named fluffy, someone can put 2 and 2 together.

The best way to create a password, as compared to using a word as a password, is to use a combination of random letters, both upper and lowercase as well as numbers and if allowed by the website, characters such as @#$%^&*(). Combine this with a password of at least 10 if not more characters and you start to have a more secure login.

Some examples of good passwords would be:

GK77x^sGgFKr^SLb

6Wh*uDikCosImMys

JZCCZn%yL8n3*g8G

It should be said that no password is totally safe, even a 256 character length password can be eventually cracked in time, but it also relies on the website the password has been create for actually storing your information in an encrypted format rather than unencrypted.  All you can do is your best and try to make it more difficult to someone trying to get your password. If you Google ‘secure password generators’ you fill find many websites that will help you generate more secure passwords than IloveYou!

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2 comments

  1. The solution to all password woes is a free program called LastPass, available at http://www.lastpass.com.

    LastPass will remember and track all of your passwords, even generate those hard to break/hard to remember passwords and automatically log you in if you choose.

    It’s web-based, so you can access your LastPass account at any computer that’s connected to the internet and visit all your favourite sites securely.

    I admit that storing passwords through a web service seems risky but LastPass and its methods have been extensively tested and have passed with flying colours.

    Get LastPass and surf in peace.

  2. I use it as a plugin for Firefox…. don’t leave home without it!