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The Importance of Password Security - FOR USERS

Posted by on in Staying Safe on the Internet
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It is safe to say that technology plays an integral part in our lives today, from socialising to shopping, business to banking. As such, we all have a huge number of password protected accounts. Due to the sensitivity of information protected by these passwords, it is necessary that they are well chosen to provide the most security.

To best demonstrate what constitutes a 'strong' password I will use a series of examples in ascending order of strength.

DO NOT USE - E.g. 'password', '12345', 'qwerty' or 'secret'
A password like the ones above should NEVER be used as the are easy to both GUESS or CRACK.

Very Weak - Your name, any dictionary word - E.g 'computer'
These passwords, while better than the previous level of security, are still both easy to GUESS and CRACK. Not only because the passwords are simple, but using personal information makes it much easier to guess.

Weak - E.g. 'computer217'
While harder to GUESS due to the included numbers, a password like this is still easy to CRACK.

Medium - E.g. 'C0mPut3r217'
Replacing letters with numbers is a good idea, however common replacements are known by crackers and are listed in publicly available password databases, so it is wise to include even more security in your password. Capitalising letters, especially randomly, is a good start to a strong password.

Strong - E.g. '?C0mPut3r217%'
The inclusion of punctuation and symbols in your password greatly increases its security. A password such as this is considered strong and would be very difficult to GUESS, it would also be hard to CRACK, yet not impossible.

Very Strong - E.g. '?mcrA5p217%'
Although this looks like a random string of jumbled letters and numbers, there is a very logical way to create and remember passwords like this. Passwords which are near impossible to GUESS and extremely difficult to CRACK.

How to do it:
1. Start with a sentence (usually something with personal meaning) - E.g. 'I know my computer requires a strong password'
2. Use the first letter of each word to create a string of letters - E.g. 'ikmcrasp'
3. Add complexity (Capitalise any vowels, replace letters with numbers) - E.g. 'IkmcrA5p'
4. Add a meaningful number at the end - E.g. 'IkmcrA5p217'
5. Add extra symbols (i.e. Punctuate beginning, symbol at the end) - E.g. '?IkmcrA5p217%'

Extras:
- The longer your sentence, the more secure the password.
- Using meaningful sentences and numbers will help you remember the password, without being easy to guess like only using your name or birthday.
- Writing down a password is ok, as long as no one else can see what you have written down.
- Always use unique passwords for important accounts like email and banking.

Now you have a very strong password that isn't too difficult to remember due to its logical creation, but is very secure.

Stay safe!

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I finished school in 2012 and went straight to work with Genisyst. I am still learning the ropes of the business and the technical side of everything we have to offer, but at the same time, I am researching new and innovative products and systems we can implement with our own.