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Author Topic: Please keep your password secure!
Spam & Cookies-mmm
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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You always think your smart friends will avoid stupid things. My brother is very smart, but he apparently doesn't always use his brain.


I keep a myspace account, in part to see what my kids have on their sites. Some of my kids’ friends, and cousins, have also added me as a “friend”. Now I can see their web pages, and the bulletins that they send out using their myspace account. My brother's 14-year-old son, J., is one of my myspace friends.


This weekend I started receiving some pretty nasty myspace bulletins from my nephew – mostly advertisements for stuff he had no business looking at. I knew he couldn't be doing this deliberately, so I went to the myspace forums, found an article about hacked profiles, and called my brother to tell him how to fix his son’s account. All he needs to do, I told him, is change his password. Then the hacker shouldn’t have any further access into his account.

Then my brother asked me, what about our other accounts? I said, like what? Well, he said, J uses the same password for his myspace that we use for all of our stuff!

Great googly moogly. Is it really that hard for adults to understand that they need to keep their passwords safe? Why would you give your kid the password that you use to do your banking and buying online? [Confused] Why?! [Confused]



http://www.securitystats.com/tools/password.php

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Eddylizard
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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When I was working nights a few years back, since I didn't have a desk of my own, so I shared a desk with a day worker, with that individuals full knowledge and agreement.

One night I reached into the drawer for a stapler. Right on top was a post-it note, on which was written:

www.*******bank.co.uk

Login: j*******

Password ********

The asterisks are mine.

Being as this was a fairly high ranking and well paid employee, I can't even begin to imagine how much fun I could have had with this information - if I had been so inclined.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I was once informed that the best password is one that does not form a coherent word. The first letter of the first eight or ten (or sixteen) lines of your favorite poem, for example.

It would take me two or three minutes to type in a password like that, since I would have to recite the poem to do it. On the other hand, coming up with passwords that don't form coherent (or even misspelled) words isn't that hard.

So I have a variety of passwords and only the ones that would do no harm if hacked are words. Because I have so many, I do have some hints I've left myself, but I'm careful with the hints.

Seaboe

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faceless007
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I use an algorithm to create passwords which are pretty much uncrackable (except by bruce force obviously), different for every website, look totally random, and even contain numbers and non-alphanumeric characters.

Basically, I took two short words that have nothing to do with each other except by an obscure connection only I know. I then replaced some of the letters with corresponding numbers, i.e. O becomes 0, I becomes 1. I then add a short sequence of letters and non-alphanumeric charactes which is easily derived from the name of the website or service, but you'd have to be pretty sharp to see the connection.

The advantages of this system, besides the strength of the password, is that it's easy to remember (for me), so even though each password is unique, I only need the name of the website to derive what's unique to that particular password.

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by SeabooMuffinchucker:
I was once informed that the best password is one that does not form a coherent word. The first letter of the first eight or ten (or sixteen) lines of your favorite poem, for example.

It would take me two or three minutes to type in a password like that, since I would have to recite the poem to do it.
Seaboe

You don't have to do the first letter of every line. You can do first letter of every word and you password would be as effective and much easier to recall

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Nico Sasha
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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Mad Jay:
quote:
Originally posted by SeabooMuffinchucker:
I was once informed that the best password is one that does not form a coherent word. The first letter of the first eight or ten (or sixteen) lines of your favorite poem, for example.

You don't have to do the first letter of every line. You can do first letter of every word and you password would be as effective and much easier to recall
The person who gave me that example was a writer, a computer geek and a solicitor. I suspect recalling the first word of each line of a poem was something he could do as fast as he could type, thus the example.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Ana Ng
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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What about old phone numbers?

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JFB
Jingle Bell Hock


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Then there's the plain lazy.

In past IT dealings, I've sometimes run across the following passwords at workstations festooned with empty coffee cups and food wrappers:

qwerty

asdfgh

To be fair, the denizens of these workstations are usually cooperative when advised to change their passes. The result:

zxcvbn

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Dog Friendly
Carol of the Bills


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I tend to use faceless007's method. I'll take a word or pair of words that aren't obviously related to anyone but me (spiderBen, Duckbutter) and substitute numbers for letters here and there. Then I can write down another word or phrase that will cue the association without giving away the actual password.

A minor problem is that when I'm away from work for more than a day, my boss needs to let other people log into my accounts to retrieve information e-mailed to me. My co-workers don't always remember not to leave a post-it note with this password on my desk. Then again, there's nothing worth stealing or revealing in my office e-mail account.

Dog (pa55W0rd) Friendly

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Ana Ng:
What about old phone numbers?

Can be hacked relatively easily from what I understand. Any word/number with personal meaning falls into that category.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Dog Friendly
Carol of the Bills


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How about "a1ann3ddul"?

Dog (Off-the-wall associations, slightly scrambled) Friendly

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"Nobody ever got stoned and beat up his old lady" -- Spence, snapdragonfly's friend

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Saint Gryphon
I Saw Three Shipments


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I use a program called KeePass which keeps an encrypted database of your passwords.
Then you just have to remember one password to get into it. It creates passwords like this U.>mfP;D/r+r

Of course if you forget your password into KeePass or lose the database (I have lots of backups) you are screwed.

Not to be only endorsing KeePass a Google search for "Password Database" will list several other programs to try out.

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I read somewhere that the "best" passwords were the longer ones. Even if it was a phrase "dogseatmorebeef". The whole idea being that the vast majority of password hackers use brute force to break your password. So as long as it is LONG, it takes quite a bit to break.

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Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
I read somewhere that the "best" passwords were the longer ones. Even if it was a phrase "dogseatmorebeef". The whole idea being that the vast majority of password hackers use brute force to break your password. So as long as it is LONG, it takes quite a bit to break.

Another brute force method involves joining words from a dictionary which drastically reduces the strength of sentence-type passwords.

I typically use a couple of words in very cryptic l337 speak.

Example of an old password I no longer use:
I am Smaug! -> 14^^5^^4U6!

Brute force that you silly script kiddies. [Razz]

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by SeabooMuffinchucker:
quote:
Originally posted by Mad Jay:
quote:
Originally posted by SeabooMuffinchucker:
I was once informed that the best password is one that does not form a coherent word. The first letter of the first eight or ten (or sixteen) lines of your favorite poem, for example.

You don't have to do the first letter of every line. You can do first letter of every word and you password would be as effective and much easier to recall
The person who gave me that example was a writer, a computer geek and a solicitor. I suspect recalling the first word of each line of a poem was something he could do as fast as he could type, thus the example.

Seaboe

Oh, I'm sure there are super-smart people who will do it that way.

I'm just saying that for lesser mortals like myself, taking the first letter of every word is just as good, and much easier

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Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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My usual password is one that I came up with when my dad told me I shouldn't use my middle name as a password. Because I'm the only one with administrative privileges on my computer, when my dad had to use it one day, he asked me what it is. I gave him a somewhat cryptic answer. It took him a minute to figure it out, but once he did, he thought it was a good one.

Now, I use that method with almost every password. All I do is take two things that are important to me, one word/number combination being 1 fewer than the other, and alternate the letters.

Example: Take "Urban Legend". I would mix it to say "luergbeannd"

edited for clarity

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ThistleSoftware
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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This thread is making me realize how much I need to change my passwords. Must stop putting it off!

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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So "12345" is NOT a good password?

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And now for something completely different...

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
So "12345" is NOT a good password?

Depends on how you define "good", I suppose. If it means "easy for others to figure out" then it's a very good password.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Cinnamon
The First USA Noel


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Sometimes the idiocy of people as regards passwords can be quite useful. I had a situation a couple of years back at work where information I needed was being circulated between a couple of people by email and not being made available to me. My boss told me to read the emails of the person in our office who was involved, so I did. When he discovered this he put a password on his work email account. Took me about ten seconds to get in and that was only because I tried his wife's name before I tried his son's.

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TrekkerScout
Deck the Malls


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1-2-3-4-5? That's amazing! I've got the same combination on my luggage!*

*1 point for reference.

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keokuk
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
So "12345" is NOT a good password?

That's the kind of password an idiot would have on his luggage.
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stalker
Deck the Malls


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TrekkerScout spanks keokuk's Spaceballs

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by TrekkerScout:
1-2-3-4-5? That's amazing! I've got the same combination on my luggage!*

*1 point for reference.

Space Balls?

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I actually know someone who used 12345 as his password. What a surprise to me when, while goofing around, I gained access to his account. I figured he was smarter than that.

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Won't somebody please think of the adults!

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TrekkerScout
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by stalker:
TrekkerScout spanks keokuk's Spaceballs

And Doug4.7 gets spanked by stalker for the lone reference point (it was a really easy reference after all). I thought about giving the point to keokuk, but decided that the simulpost didn't count. However, he does get an honorable mention for the "Great Minds Think Alike And At The Same Time" Award.
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Salamander
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Hmmm... password complexity. This is an issue I deal with every day.

Basically the more complex a password is, the harder it will be for someone to guess it or use a brute force method to solve it.

There are 4 main ways to increase password complexity, they are:

1) Password length of 8 or more characters
2) Mixed upper & lower case letters
3) Numbers
4) Special characters -- !@#$%^&*,.

Additionally, a good password should avoid having anything that is easily identifiable with you -- family names, birth dates, sports teams, etc. There have been a number of times were I've walked into someone's office and found it covered in the sporting memorabilia of their favourite team... and I've discovered that their password was a stunningly complex (not) combination of their team's name & their DOB.

Personally, I tend to work on "themes" as I am required to change my work passwords frequently. I decide on a theme that has a logical order. Since I can never use it again anyway, one of my previous themes was the colours of the rainbow (ROYGBIV) -- each time I was required to change I went through the colours in order and added certain special characters to aid complexity.

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Radical Dory
God Rest Ye Merry Retail Clerks


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My sister who is computer science at NC State took a security class last semester. These were upperclassmen, yet the teacher managed to crack all of their e-mail passwords except for two, who had created their passwords correctly. Basically, according to him, it boils down to:

1)Not using any identifiable words or phrases.
2)Using as many characters as possible, especially non-alphanumeric ones like #,%,^,&, etc. if allowed.
3)Making it as long as possible. 10 letters is fine, 15 is great.

I usually take a short phrase I can remember and twist it some way, such as abbreviating it. I then use 1337 Speak (yes, it has a practical use!) to replace the appropriate letters, throw in a random character where a space might be and voila! New password!

Just make sure you can actually remember it. [Big Grin]

ETA: Spanked a wee bit by Salamander.

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DarkDan
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Also, for the love of God, if you're gonna be on a computer in a public place, log off or lock the computer! I overheard my stupid-ass weirdo roommate talking on the phone to some other idiot about he being in a computer lab at uni and "some bitch" wasn't logged off so he went on her myspace, changed her password, and hijacked her account. What a douche, pardon my French.

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bravnot
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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For non critical accounts I choose a long word and intentionally add typo's to it. For a critical account, I choose long words with the intentional typo and then a "" followed by a number that means something to me.

ETA: There's supposed to be a "special character" inside the quotes.

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Eddylizard
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I could have mis-remembered this, but don't some flavours of UNIX have a built-in dictionary, such that if a user enters a dictionary word as a password it will be rejected?

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"Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is commonly known as money. It comes in all sizes, colours, and denominations - like people."

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Are You Afraid of the DarkDan?:
Also, for the love of God, if you're gonna be on a computer in a public place, log off or lock the computer! I overheard my stupid-ass weirdo roommate talking on the phone to some other idiot about he being in a computer lab at uni and "some bitch" wasn't logged off so he went on her myspace, changed her password, and hijacked her account.

He baggy-pantsed her!

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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My Disney employee server account requires me to change my password every three months, and you can't use the same password the next three times after you've used it (basically, you can only use it once a year). It also requires a minimum of one capitalized letter and a number in it. I've seen people use "Qwerty1234" and laughed at them.

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RangerDog
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Here are the password requirements where I work:

The minimum requirement is a 10-character case-sensitive password. Passwords or phrases longer than 10 characters are recommended when supported by the IS. Password expiration will be not more than 150 days.

The password will be a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, including at least two of each of the four types of characters (for example, x$TloTBn2!) and can be user generated.

Passwords will not include such references as social security numbers (SSNs), birthdays, USERIDs, names, slang, military acronyms, call signs, dictionary words, consecutive or repetitive characters, system identification, or
names; neither will they be easy to guess (for example, mypassword, abcde12345).

Password history configurations will prevent reutilization of the last 10 passwords when technically possible.

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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My work password requirements are similar to RangerDog's, but we have to replace them every 30 days AND they keep a password history file for the last 48 passwords. And no two systems can have the same password. It this point it almost seems to make it impossible to remember your password with having to change it so often.

Also, if they keep a history of your passwords, how hard is it to break into that file and detect a "pattern" in your passwords?

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