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Secure Passwords

posted Aug 21, 2014, 9:00 AM by Michael Dreyfus-Pai   [ updated Sep 11, 2016, 3:19 PM by Karen McMillan ]
Today, we're going to go over what makes a password secure, and then go through the process of changing our own passwords.

First, read this comic about password strength.  It's kind of mathy, but you'll get the idea.

xkcd passwords

Read this one as well, about password reuse.

xkcd password reuse

The Third Way

There are three big ways that people can get your password.  The comics above cover two:
  1. Guess it using a lot of computer power.  This is called a brute force attack.
  2. Steal it from an existing database or by tricking you into signing up for something.  The first is called hacking, the second is called phishing.
The third is the MOST INSIDIOUS OF ALL!
3. You give it away to someone because you trust them.

This is one of the most common ways that people's passwords get passed around and cause harm!  Always keep your password secure from friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, BFFs, classmates, and students!

Here are the keys to making and keeping a good password:
  • Make it long and quickly typed so that people watching you can't figure it out
  • Don't reuse passwords.
  • Don't use easily guessed facts, like your name, birthday, address, etc.
  • Don't tell it to anyone (except maybe your parents)!
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