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Create Passwords That Can't Be Hacked

Perhaps you've spent a great deal of time and money on software or hardware to make your computer secure. But all the time, money and effort you put into your computer security will be a waste of money is you make the mistake of not creating a strong password. Passwords are usually the weakest link in the chain of computer security. Password cracking tools are constantly evolving so that some network passwords that once took weeks or months to break can be broken in mere hours.

Password Cracking Tools

Password cracking tools or software work using one of three or a combination of three approaches: dictionary attacks, intelligent guessing and automation.

Dictionary attacks goes through all possible words most likely to succeed from a list in a dictionary or even a religious book like a Bible. These attacks succeed because so many people choose simple passwords of fewer than seven characters easily found in a dictionary.

Intelligent guessing

In this method of computer guessing the software or the hacker goes through a list of possible passwords one by one sometimes even based on personal knowledge of the victim. Examples of guessing passwords is using a row of letters, the user's name or login, the vehicle license plate, date of birth, name of a pet, favorite celebrity, profanity or a slight spelling modification of any of the previous scenarios or adding a single number, like one, after the word.

Personal data can be collected from many sources including online where information such as the university you went to, the year you graduated and your major may be easily accessed.

Automation

This method, also sometimes called brute force, automatically tries every possible password based on knowledge of common password length and randomly choosing characters, letters or numbers.

Strong Password Dos

A strong password should be between eight to 10 characters. The password should contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure you have at least one symbol between the second and the sixth character of your password. Change your password routinely, every other month or so, depending on your personal chosen schedule and your security concerns. When you change your password, make sure the new one is significantly different from the previous one.

Strong Password Don'ts

Never use your name. You may use part of it as long as the rest of the characters of your password are not easily guessed. Don't use personal information like address, phone number, you school or birthdays. Spelling any of these options backwards isn't a good idea either since this is easily guessed.

Remembering Your Fabulous New Password

The biggest challenge to creating a difficult-to-hack password is managing it or remembering it. Try this formula. Create a strong base term, sometimes called a salt term, that's a date, place, phrase, event or anything else unique to you that you'll be able to remember. Create your own formula where you replace regular characters with special characters. An uppercase B could be replaced with "!" and the lowercase b could be replaced with "*(." Change this formula as frequently and simply plug in the appropriate replacement symbol, number or character.

 

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In 2003, more than 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft.

Identity theft costs business and individuals $53 billion dollars annually

In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

70% of all identity theft cases are perpetrated by a co-worker or employee of an affiliated business.