Tag Archives: password

What Good is Security if You Almost Give Away the Info?

I just finished a rather unsettling TED talk (00:12:00) about Stalkerware.  What is that you say?  Well it’s programs that allow someone to view everything on a device of another person.  Scary?

Well, there’s more to it and it’s just about as bad.  Watch: Stalkerware   The stalker does need to, physically, get to the device, but that’s not as hard as you think.  Watch it, I am going to continue.

One of the first things she talks about is passwords.  I have written about this before, but it bears going through again.  Even I have learned things on this very subject.

  1. Use Very strong passwords for each account.
  2. Use a Unique password for each account.
  3. Use Secondary measures (like phones calls before allowing entry) for passwords.
  4. Keep passwords Safe.

Okay, 4 steps. Number 4 should be obvious.  If you write your passwords down, hide it well.  Don’t keep a list or even type a list on your computer. This is one time when pencil and paper win.

If you type something on your computer and erase it, people can still get it back in most cases.

Now, there are 2 things I hear over and over about passwords:  1.  People use the same password on multiple accounts.  2. People don’t want to take the time or energy to make unique strong passwords.  There is also the matter of changing your passwords every 30 days.  At least, make sure you change them several times a year and that they are strong each time.

Now, making a strong password is time consuming and hard work – I think that getting all of your information stolen and your accounts broken into will make MORE work!

A strong password:

  1. 12 or more characters
  2. Don’t repeat a password – EVER!
  3. Don’t pick something simple.  Somewhere they did a study and found that a big percentage of system Admins had the password God1234 as their password!
  4. Don’t follow a pattern that is easily figured out.  test1234TEST is 12 non=-repeating characters, bad choice!
  5. Make certain to use  at least 1 Capital Letter, 1 Lower-case Letter, 1 Number, 1 special symbol (like (,),!,#,$,%,,<,>).
  6. Dont’ use names, dates, or words for passwords unless you really mix it up (see below).
  7. Remember this:  NO password or device is entirely unbreakable.  If they want to get in, they can.  Your job is too make it difficult enough that they don’t want to bother.

So, an example:

Take the words and page number from a book.     “Sally and Henry talked all night.”  page 175

Now, use every other letter and number.    “SlynHnyakdlngt7”

Now, change some letters to Numbers “51nHnyakd1ngt7”

Now, alternate Capitals / Lower-cases.  “51nHnYkD1nGt7”

Change 1 number and 1 letter to 2 specials.   “5#nHnYkD1*Gt7”

Now, take odds and evens and write them separately.   “5nnk1G7” and “#HYD*t”

Last step, write them both backwards and put together:    “7G1knn5” and “t*DYH#”  —>  7G1knn5t*DYH#

That is a good strong Password!

Thanks for your time.  I hope I helped.  I know it is hard.  I have approximately 37 accounts and each has a password this difficult or better.

A word on secondary securities.  Anyone may be able to guess security answers if you use ones a lot of people (say, Facebook) know.

So, I get around this as follows:  Example.  “Name of City You were born in?”  Answer: 137

Don’t use the real answer or anything close to it.  “School you graduated from”  Elvis Presley

Get the idea? Thought you would.  I, actually, set one up on a site with some help from the “security” person.

“The Name of your Sister”   Answer I gave (example):  Indianapolis

Her response was: “well, that’s not a correct answer!”    Duh?

Just think of what any account could do to you or cost you.  Definitely worth the time and trouble.

Namaste,

Scott

A Revisit to Passwords

I was reading a blog post by a woman who had to choose a new password for her blog because they old one had been hacked.  She had also had her debit card hacked.

This is the life we live in. If computers are going to make our lives easier and faster, it will also be true that some people will do harm through them.

I gave a post on creating passwords some time ago.  Since then I have learned a couple of things that will help keep your computer files and money saf-er.  No computer is entirely safe from hacking.  Even if you don’t have it hooked up to the Internet, someone could break into your house, steal the computer, and hack it later.  But passwords are great IF they are selected with some care.  For example:

These are people who have scammed people for a long time, but now can do it, mostly, from their home through computers. Most computers are fairly easy to be hacked, but you can deter them by using a password 12-20 characters long where you use at least 1 letter lower-cased, 1 letter upper-cased, 1 number, and 1 acceptable special character. Now, don’t make it your phone number or something like that. Ideally, it should have letters and characters on both sides of the keyboard and be a pretty random assortment of characters. Never reuse a password. And, when you do the secret questions, don’t use real answers, use ones that you will remember because they are ridiculous. “Where were you born?” Answer: elevator.

This is a very simple and fairly uncomplicated explanation of how to choose passwords.  If you have to write them down, fine, do it on a pencil/pen notebook and leave that notebook at home.  I have approximately 37 passwords and all of them follow the rules from above.  And you need to do the same for every password.  You never know what a person could learn if they hacked your “game” password.  Norton has a great program that “remembers” your passwords and encrypts them, putting them into the site when requested.  You can also view your passwords here to see what they are if you need to manually enter one.  Not foolproof, just good.  I am told that most hackers will not usually mess with your account if the password is up to speed.  Ideally, you should change them every 30 days.  The big reason for this is that if someone is working on getting into your account and is using password crackers, it is hopeful it will take them long enough to get your password that you have changed it.

The world is a rough place.  Why make it harder on yourself by having to deal with hackers and scams?

Namaste,

Scott

Cracking an Egg Should be Easy; Cracking a Password Should NOT!

Okay, first your 7-8 minutes of homework:  Read this one –>  Girl Creates Passwords

Now, that you have done that, we can talk for a moment.  This was another time when we should be reminding ourselves to CREATE STRONG PASSWORDS.

First, the very basic rules:

  1. Never use duplicate passwords.  A unique one for each login.
  2. Never reuse passwords.  This makes it very easy to guess with some research.
  3.  Don’t just use your name, birthday, family’s names, favorite color, or any such easy stuff.
  4. Don’t just use the name of the website or similar.  The password “Microsoft1234” is not secure at all.
  5. Always include upper/lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.  $%VEks03^7 is still better than a 50 digit password of all numbers.
  6. Don’t store your passwords in a file on your computer.  Using Norton Identity Safe is okay if you secure it with a good solid 15-18 character password.
  7. If you have to keep a paper copy, secure it, hide it, and don’t use it more than you have to.
  8. Don’t let others use your computer.
  9. Keep your computer “locked” as often as you can.

Password creation guidelines (an example):

  1.  Pick a book and open to a low chapter (let’s use chap 3 of John Grisham’s “Playing for Pizza”.
  2. using the, let’s say 2nd page, 2nd paragraph of that – write every other word of the 2nd sentence.”He’d his once the” (remove the ‘).   Hed his once the (13 letters)
  3. Reverse the order:  the once his Hed
  4. chg obvious letters to numbers:    the 0nce h15 Hed  (the o, i, and s)
  5. pick the symbol on the top line of the typewriter that equals the number of letters in a word to put in the space following the word:  the-3  0nce-4 h15-3 Hed-3  for a change don’t start over on the line, just keep counting, so the-3, 0nce-3+4, h15-7+3, Hed-10+3  so:  the#0nce&h15)Hed#
  6. That final password should be good enough: reverse it once more if you want –
  7. Final;  #deH)51h&ecn0#ehT   ( I capitalized the last letter, too)
  8. 16 characters very random.  It will work.
  9. Follow these directions for each password and change your passwords, at least, every 2 months and you will be in the top few percent of those will be unlikely to be hacked or bothered with.

Namaste,

Scott

 

 

Your Money or Your Life (But, Your Password Will Do)

Some time ago, I published a post in which I tried to help people create a good password.  I still think my way is an excellent one.  Of course, 12-16 digit random characters including capital, small letters, numbers, and special characters is really hard to beat.  Anyway, here is an somewhat entertaining TED talk about passwords.  It’s less than 10 minutes and may help you.  After it, I will tell you, briefly, how I have made some really good passwords.

Now, simply put, try this:

1)  Use at least 12 characters (10 in a pinch)

2) Use numbers, letters (capital and small), and special characters.

3) Don’t follow a pattern

4) Change it fairly frequently

5) Password Guardians such as Norton’s password manager can help you.

6)  Don’t ever reuse a password

7)  Never just change a letter or a number when making a new password

8) Don’t repeat passwords

Ex.  12345 is a horrible password, so is any 8 digits or 8 letters, same case  (even mixed is poor)

Strong password:  how about:  rjdhFh2$#%fSncy  (16 randoms)

You only need to be hacked once – one poor password can allow that.

________________________

Namaste,

Scott

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