Monday, June 8, 2009

Seattle Times - Software targets password pickle

The Seattle Times has a good article on managing passwords. I particularily like their password tips:

1 Use at least seven or eight characters, with numbers, symbols and letters. Random arrangements are stronger than words you can find in the dictionary.

2 Think of a phrase or sentence that you'll remember but others won't know and then take the first letter of each word and substitute numbers or symbols for some of them. "My favorite jacket is at the cleaners" becomes MFJIATC or MFJ1@TC.

3 If you really want to use your dog's name, save it for news sites or accounts that don't contain sensitive information. Use a stronger password for more critical accounts or financial services.

4 If you store your passwords, use an encrypted file or password manager. Don't leave them on your hard drive in an open file labeled: "passwords.doc."

There is a good discussion on password managers available to include browser password managers, OpenID, information cards, CardSpace, and others. I happen to like an application called RoboForm. RoboForm manages passwords, identities, generates random passwords and quite a bit more. One key is to make sure that you do use a master password, otherwise all of your information is open if someone gets access to your computer.


Mike said...

Good morning.
Enjoyed your blog. I am intrigued with the idea of "trusting my instincts." Doing that is a little bit of a blink moment. You take in information without totally filtering it. Instead of reasoning your way to a foregone conclusion (this is supposed to be safe place, therefore the feeling of not safe must be wrong), you go with your intuition. Something about the situation is off.

Changing subjects, I picked up a few typos in your article. For example, "repeals" rather than "repels."

Be safe!

Michael said...

Thanks for the comment.

The idea of trusting your instincts comes from the fact that instinctual reaction has been developed from eons of human activity and that we are "hard wired" to think in certain ways in certain circumstances, e.g. fight or flight. The trouble with filtering is that we filter with thoughts that are only based on our perceptions and prejudices.

Thanks for the proofreading.