How to Make a Great Password

What is a good password?

A good password is one that is sufficient to keep others out.  Unfortunately what we’ve been doing in the past is no longer sufficient to combat the modern hacker.  Our old password habits include:

  • Short passwords can be hacked in seconds
  • Passwords that are made up from guessable words like our kids names, etc.
  • Even seemingly complex passwords made from special characters and numbers can be hacked in seconds or minutes now.

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Finding out if your Online Username and Password have been Hacked

How would you know if your username and password have been hacked?

In recent times there have been a rash of email phishing scams that go something like this:

  • They claim they have hacked you personally and have your username and password
  • They show you the password to add validity to the claim and get your attention (which it certainly does)
  • They say they have used your computer to record some form of bad behavior (adult or illegal websites, etc,)
  • They threaten that they will make this behavior public if your don’t pay them
  • They ask for some large amount of money in Bitcoins

Let me be clear – this is a scam.  Don’t pay them or even bother to communicate with them.  Throw out the emails.

But how did they get your username and password?

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What makes a good password?

Is your password based on your name or one of your family members?  How about some number related to your birthday?  Your favorite Disney character?  A pets name?  The numbers to your home or office?  I’ve seen all these approaches, and unfortunately so have the hackers.

Choosing-a-password

In recent weeks Hackers have stepped up their attacks on the Internet.  One of their latest exploits includes using other infected computers as Robots (Bots) to attempt to login to computers connected to the Internet with RDP Remote Access enabled (see my other blog article on the details of this, and how to defend yourself from it).  They can make a try every one or two seconds, easily more than 40,000 tries per day.  They don’t get tired and they don’t give up easily.  If you have a simple password, it increases the chances a hacker could get through.  This is just one of many reasons to have a good password. Continue reading