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Posted:

Symon
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Joined: 11 Jun 2006
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Location: Berkshire,England
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 9:19 pm  Reply with quote

Selecting Good Passwords

Rationale
The object when choosing a password is to make it as difficult as possible for a cracker to make educated guesses about what you've chosen. This leaves him no alternative but a brute-force search, trying every possible combination of letters, numbers, and punctuation. A search of this sort, even conducted on a machine that could try one million passwords per second (most machines can try less than one hundred per second), would require, on the average, over one hundred years to complete.


What Not to Use

Don't use your login name in any form (as-is, reversed, capitalized, doubled, etc.).

Don't use your first or last name in any form.

Don't use use your spouse's or child's name.

Don't use other information easily obtained about you. This includes license plate numbers, telephone numbers, social security numbers, the brand of your automobile, the name of the street you live on, etc.

Don't use a password of all digits, or all the same letter. This significantly decreases the search time for a cracker.

Don't use a word contained in (English or foreign language) dictionaries, spelling lists, or other lists of words.

Don't use a password shorter than six characters.

What to Use
Do use a password with mixed-case alphabetic characters.

Do use a password with nonalphabetic characters, e.g., digits or punctuation.

Do use a password that is easy to remember, so you don't have to write it down.

Do use a password that you can type quickly, without having to look at the keyboard. This makes it harder for someone to steal your password by watching over your shoulder.

Use multiple passwords
If you have the same password everywhere, then you are very vulnerable . If the password is cracked anywhere all your accounts are compromised.
So you should make sure you use several passwords. This is another good reason to make sure your passwords are easy for you to remember!

Methods to Choose Secure and Easy to Remember Passwords

There are many ways to do this. Some examples are here:

Choose a line or two from a song or poem, and use the first letter of each word. For example, ``In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure dome decree'' becomes ``IXdKKaspdd.''

Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels, up to eight characters. This provides nonsense words that are usually pronounceable, and thus easily remembered. Examples include ``routboo,'' ``quadpop,'' and so on.

Choose two short words and concatenate them together with a punctuation character between them. For example: ``dog;rain,'' ``book+mug,'' ``kid?goat.''. In place of the puncuation character you could improve security with another item of private data, such as a distorted form of a credit card pin number.

Choose a theme/pattern that all your passwords fit into. For example when using the "short words" method. you could always make the first word an animal, and the second a TV program, combine that with a series of private numeric values that you can remember and you may have passwords:

cat7812casualty
bulldog3213hillstreet
lion9876stargate

The pattern method is a little more vulnerable to a brute force search if someone guesses the theme, but that has to be weighed against the fact that you may not end up writing the password down and may be able to use more different passwords.
Hackers are after easy targets, something with millions of permutations is not worth the effort unless it gets them into the Pentagon!

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