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How to Craft a Strong Password and Keep your Data Safe!!

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Alisanne Steele | TheSoftwareConsultant | Tuesday, April 3, 2018

There is a ton of information out there about how to create that perfect password.  As long as you follow the rules, your password should be strong and un-crackable.  Or at the very least, your password should be strong enough to outlast a few rounds of brute force attacks – giving you enough time to change your login credentials.

But what people so often fail to account for, are all of those password no-no’s.  You see, even if you are following the password rules, you still might come out of it with a pretty awful password.  This is because hackers have found a way to use these rules to their advantage.  They’ve identified patterns and have started using these patterns to crack even the most rule-abiding of passwords.

So to avoid having your potentially solid password go to waste, here are four major things you should watch out for.

Numbers

Not only have we been told that numbers make passwords stronger, but most online accounts require numbers inside passwords.  Unfortunately, though, numbers only make passwords stronger if you use them correctly.  Many people have the natural tendency to attach a sequence of numbers to the back of the password; however, hackers know this is going to happen, so they automatically check for it.

A better option for those numbers is to stick them inside the password.  Hackers are less likely to crack this.  Or, if you’re absolutely dead set on attaching numbers to the back (or front) of your password, then just make sure the numbers are legitimately random.  In other words, don’t use “123” or “9876.”

“My4Trick7Ponies”  instead of “MyTrickPony123”

Phrases

Phrases are perfect for passwords… but only if they’re unique.  Just like people naturally feel the need to throw “123” onto the backs of their passwords, people naturally want to use the same phrases.  It really doesn’t make any sense.  There are millions upon millions of word combinations out there that it’s slightly amazing (in the worst possible way) that people feel the need to use the same phrases for their passwords.

Everyone always wants to claim their love for something (Ilovepizza, Ilovefootball, Ilovecamping), and people really love using famous movie quotes or songs.  Don’t do that.  These types of phrases are an automatic check for hackers.

“Digging4Doughnuts”  random, but memorable

Replacements

Certain letters or words have common keyboard replacements.  ‘E’ can be replaced with ‘3.’  ‘At’ can be replaced with ‘@.’  And ‘B’ can be replaced with ‘8.’  And if the rest of your password is pretty rock-solid, then that’s okay.  But if you’re relying on these common replacements to push you through a hack, you’ll be sorry.

“D!gg!ng4Dou&hnut$”  Putting it all together

Pet Passwords

Avoid using he same password for multiple accounts. With breaches no longer being the exception, rather they are the rule, once your ID and password have been compromised for one account hackers quickly test those credentials against other accounts and pull as much access and data as possible while you race to change passwords across platforms to protect your data and your identity.  Use unique passwords for any accounts that have access to your personal, financial, or other sensitive data.

A few key rules and strategies can protect your data, identity, and assets.

As always, we are here to get you on the right path!

~Sanne

CLE Opportunity:

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Lunch & Learn – Co-Sponsored by the Washoe County Bar Association
Friday, May 4, 2018
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm (Q & A 1:00 to 2:00 pm)
2 Hours CLE Ethics Credit
Bruce Thompson Federal Courthouse

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