What is a Secure
Password and why do I need one?
††††††††††† As the
amount of technology in our daily lives increases, we have to maintain a high
level of security over our personal information.† A common method of maintaining that security
is through the use of passwords.† As
described by the Federal
Information Processing Standards, a password is a sequence of characters
used for authentication purposes to grant or deny access to data.
Without passwords, anyone anywhere
in the world could access your personal information or worse, pretend to be
you.† Often users make the mistake of
having a password which is too simplistic,
and therefore easy to guess.† A good technique
is to use the same base password (preferably a combination of letters, digits, and
special characters) for all sites, but prepend,
append, or intersperse other characters specific to the site name.† Fortunately there are guidelines
available which explain what a secure password is.
How do I come up with
a Secure Password?
††††††††††† Many people
find it difficult to come up with a secure yet memorable password on their
own.† Fortunately there are various
sources to aid in the creation of secure passwords.† These programs are known as password
generators.† There are various types of
password generators, ranging from those which generate random passwords to those which generate pronounceable
passwords.† Of course the primary
flaw with using a generator for all your passwords is that all of your
passwords would be tied to a single master password and generator, granting
access to all of your protected files to anyone able to figure out these two
bits of information.† This is why it is
often best to come up with passwords of your own.
I have too many
passwords, what do I do?
††††††††††† One of the
main problems people have is the ability to remember all of their various
passwords.† If you use a single password
across the board you risk access of all protected documents via one word.† One solution is to keep a separate record of the
various passwords, which also has an obvious drawback.† Fortunately there are companies
which provide software which will
remember your passwords for you.† The primary
drawback to such software is the inability to access password protected
information when you are away from your personal computer.
What are some
these precautions are not full-proof, they are merely a deterrent.† There will always be people who are trying to
view information they donít have access to.†
There is software available that is designed for password recovery, but which can
obviously be used maliciously.† Some passwords can even be found using
popular search engines.† There is also of course the constant threat
breaking into your software and finding all of your passwords that way.