Using Secure Passwords.

Everyone has to use them; they protect our privacy so when it comes to something that grants access to things like bank accounts and private files why risk it?

Working in the IT field I can’t tell you how often I see passwords such as “123456” or “Password1” when a good password should never be a sequence of numbers or something based on a word found in the dictionary.

In fact when the application developer RockYou’s login credentials were left exposed because of a SQL injection bug  in RockYou’s website the top 10 passwords  used were listed as the following:

  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. Password
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess
  7. rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123

A good password should be something along the lines of “7ufebuHU” hard to remember? Yes it is but its also hard to guess and not going to be cracked in a dictionary based attack. If you really hate remembering passwords grab some kind of password database application, never settle for storing your passwords in a text or word document. I personally use 1Password (Mac Only) at home because it offers the ability to sync with the 1Password companion app on the iPhone. It also stores my passwords using AES the same encryption algorithm used as the national standard in the United States, 1Password uses 128-bit keys to encrypt your passwords. Which basically means it would take years to decrypt your data using a brute force attack, negate this altogether by changing your master password every few months.

If you don’t want to fork out any cash for a good password database, then check out KeePass which is a free alternative, which also offers encryption. A nice future the KeePass team came up with, if you don’t want to even remember the one password to decrypt your password database is the use of keyfiles, you can toss the keyfile on a flash drive and keep it with you while leaving the password database one your computer, to decrypt the database to retrieve your passwords simply plug in the flash drive and point the KeePass application at the keyfile.

With both of the above applications you can copy the passwords directly to your clipboard to paste in whatever application you need, and both also have the ability to clear your clipboard after a set number of seconds. KeePass even has the ability to automatically clear the clipboard as soon as you paste it.

So now if you’re going to store everything in the password there is no need to keep them simple, both programs offer you the ability to generate random passwords. If you don’t have ether application handy and need to generate a password, you can use a nifty tool up at the PC tools page to generate up to 50 passwords all at once.

The moral of the posts is that by making a little effort at using a secure password makes a big difference at keeping prying eyes out of your private information.

Also as a final note, looks like 1Password has already made plans and released Mockups for the iPad Interface =) I’m looking foward to that release.

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