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How to create strong passwords and have secure accounts [Tip]

Posted By Ashraf On October 28, 2012 @ 11:00 PM In World Wide Web | 37 Comments

It seems like with the increasing level of access to technology on a global scale, there are increasing numbers of scam artists, hackers, pricks, punks, assholes, scumbags, etc. that try to find ways to make everyone’s digital life a bigger pain than it needs to be. There are many ways to fight scumbagism, but most of these ways are so complex and unrealistic that most of us just simply ignore them. So, I have decided to write up this article listing five simple-ish rules one can follow to have strong passwords and secure accounts. Living your digital life by the following the following five rules will not guarantee you are hacker proof, but it does greatly mitigate the likelihood of your accounts being hacked.

Remember back in grade school math class when you studied permutations? Remember how adding an extra digit to a number (i.e. going from four digits to five digits) greatly increased the amount of possible permutations of that number? Yeah, well, they didn’t just teach that in school to torture us; permutations have a real-life application.

That said, exactly how long should your passwords be? Current industry standards say at least eight characters. However, personally, I recommend twelve characters or higher. Why? One word: Graphics. In a study conducted by Georgia Tech earlier this year, researchers were able to crack eight character passwords using graphic cards in two hours. Cracking twelve character passwords, on the other hand, was estimated to take over 17,000 years. Two hours vs seventeen thousand years, hmmm….

Now, does that mean all hackers will have the capability to crack eight character passwords in two hours? No. It takes a certain level of sophistication and technology to be able to do what the Georgia Tech researchers did and the average wannabe hacker isn’t at that level of sophistication. However it just goes to show you how important password length is.

Using special characters and uppercase letters is not as complicated as it sounds. All you need to do is go through your password and replace letters with similar special characters and make some lowercase letters uppercase. For example, if your password is bullseyeathome you can make that password a lot stronger by using bu1L\$eye@th*me. Not too hard to remember, is it?

Furthermore, having complex passwords is not only making sure you use a mix of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Complexity of a password also includes avoiding real words and popular phrases. Cracking a password comprised of real words or popular phrases is very easy using a dictionary attack. So instead of using real words or popular phrases, make up your own words or phrases. That does not mean your password can contain no real words or popular phrases. Rather, it means your password should not be all real words or popular phrases – throw in one or two figments of your imagination.

From a pure security standpoint, having tiered passwords is not as secure as having a different password for each login. However, it is is a doable derivative that serves as a good compromise between the two extremes of using the same password for all logins and using a different password for all logins.

#### Conclusion

Life would be grand if we didn’t have punks trying to access our accounts – either for fun or malicious purposes or whatever; but that just isn’t how it is. So, please, do yourself a favor and use strong passwords in order to keep your accounts secure.

Have any advice on how to have strong passwords and secure accounts? Share with us in the comments [1] below!

Originally posted December 13, 2010.