Friday Morning – What's the Password?
There are some basic rules of computer usage that are shoved into our brains from the first day we learn how to use the things. Such as, always have your computer powered through a surge protector. Have your keyboard at elbow-height. How about this one ….. have your internet passwords unique and lengthy enough to be secure? Oh, we all know about that one, don't we? We know, but most of us tend to fudge on that one, including me. It is so much more convenient to use short, familiar phrases for our passwords that we don't have to look up all the time.
In some cases we are forced to do the right thing whether we want to or not. One good example is the WiFi box that most of us use at home now. If you have it set for encryption (and you darned well better have it!), then you must use the box's pre-assigned password which is usually a 10-symbol string of numbers and letters in both upper case and lower. When ever you have to connect a new computer of other device like your printer to your WiFi network, then you have to look the number up because there is no way you can remember it. What a pain, eh? For that reason primarily, when most folks set up their Facebook page or establish a connection with their local newspaper to leave comments after published articles, we use easy-to-remember wording for the passwords, often repeating the same password(s) over several log-ins.
But you know without me telling you, that is dangerous practice and becoming even more risky these days when malicious hackers and thieves have refined their abilities to discover how to get into your private accounts and clubs. But now we have a good scheme available that shows us how to select a password that is not only very secure, but easily remembered. A great combination.
Slate Magazine's technology correspondent Farhad Manjoo has recently posted a must-read article on how to do that very thing. He tells us, in part:
The easiest way to fix this problem is to use password-managing software. I like LastPass, which generates and remembers passwords for all your sites across all your computers. (It’s free, but if you pay $1 a month for the premium version, you’ll get support for your mobile devices, too.) But for a lot of people—probably including you—even a password manager is too much trouble. Ignoring the guidelines, you pick a memorable password for all your sites, then just cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Well, I’ve got a better way. In 2009, I stumbled upon a foolproof system to fix all your terrible, vulnerable passwords in just five minutes. My method, which I filched from a commenter at a security forum—who says Web commenters are good for nothing?—generates very strong passwords that are also very easy to remember. This means that you can create good passwords for every site you visit.
But now I’ve got a better system. This new scheme generates even stronger passwords that are even easier to remember. The one disadvantage is that it doesn’t work at every site. For those places where it doesn’t work, you’ll have to use my 2009 method, which is still really good.
And it really is, believe me. You need to take a few minutes and read his ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE to learn how to do it. Now that you know, the hardest part remaining will be to get your butt in gear and start changing your insecure passwords over to one of these. This is so important, especially if you play with Facebook or Reddit, etc. Personally, I have so far refused to even admit to my bank that I am online. I want no pipeline into my financial resources at all. Eventually, all financial institutions will use internet connections exclusively for transactions and account information, but until they do – and set up foolproof firewalls – then I am staying out of their digital playgrounds.
Let's recess to our own playground now and get this equipment checked out. I'll have the coffee ready by the time we get back to the day room. See you there.
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