Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Password: It's not a TV game show anymore!

It seems that everywhere you go (virtually), you need a password.  Every day teachers tell me that they have so many passwords it's difficult to keep up with them all.  Remembering that passwords are created to help us keep our personal information secure, it can still be a task to create effective passwords that we can remember.

First, I'd like to remind folks that since passwords are used for security purposes, they should not be shared or posted/published in any way.  Taping passwords to the bottom of your keyboard is similar in security to putting your house key under the front doormat, and keeping them on a sheet inside your desk drawer isn't much better.  Those are some of the first places anyone will look.

So how does a person create a strong password?  According to a CBS News article, a password should have at least eight mixed characters.  Think of a phrase you can remember, use capital and lower case letters, and substitute numbers and symbols within the phrase.  For example, you might use the phrase, "My family eats at 6", but in the password write, Mifamleets@6.  Even hackers with all of their sophisticated software prefer an easy mark to something more difficult to decrypt.  Yes, they can still figure out your password, but you might as well make it worth their time and lock out good guessers in the meantime.  Additionally, use a different password for less important sites like your Fandango or Netflix account than you would for secure ones such as your gradebook, email, credit cards or bank account.

Did you think that you were being original using one of these passwords:  password, 123456, 12345678? Actually those were the top three passwords used in 2012.  Click here to see the top 25 WORST passwords of 2012.

Test the strength of your passwords here!

Ngak, C. (2012, October 24). The 25 Most Common Passwords of 2012. In CBS News. Retrieved November 7, 2012.