How To Give Yourself 200 Years Worth of Password Security
Recently I attended a seminar that demonstrated just how easy it is to crack a password. We all have so many passwords for different sites and programs, it hard to come up with anything new. After you do create a new password the challenge of remembering it comes along.
Did you know that with super computers eight-character passwords can take as little as 22 seconds to break, nine-character passwords take up to 2 hours to break, 10-character words take up to a week, and 11-character passwords take 2 years. Make it up to 12 characters, and you're looking at 200 years' worth of security – not bad for one little letter. Time estimates vary quite a bit but you get the idea.
Use of biometrics makes using longer and different passwords for sites and programs easy. Below are some common rules to follow to protect your information.
- Create passphrases instead of passwords. Individual words, even with slight variations, are easy to guess, but a series of words in a passphrase make them more secure.
- Consider making the passphrase or password longer than the minimum limit. Longer passphrases are harder to break than shorter, complex passwords. Mix letters, symbols and numbers in a phrase that means something to you. For instance, I love my dogs so I might use B0stonTerriersarethebe$t.
- Do not use the same password for multiple systems, websites, or accounts. Use of the same password for multiple sites or programs means if a password for one is compromised, they all are.
- Do not use single words that can be found in the dictionary of any language. Password cracking tools often come with dictionary lists that can try thousands of common words. Cracking a password is not done by a person but by software that constantly runs for the hacker.
- Do not use passwords that include personal information that could be easily accessed or guessed. This includes your birth date, your Social Security or phone number, or names of family members.
- Use Secure Password Providers to help manage your passwords. Password Safe and others such as LastPass, Dashlane, RoboForm, KeePass Password Safe, Sticky Password can even generate passwords for you. Do not store your list of passwords in a plain text file on your computer or in a notebook at your desk.
Now that you have the password security tips in play check out our library of security tips for other ways to keep your identity protected.