This headline depicts how passwords are written and
stored in your computing environment. We won’t go into heavy details, but it
essentially works this way.
When you put letters – upper and lower case – and numerals and special characters into your password, the storage system records them in a code involving 7 bits and a # symbol. Hackers have learned that if they attack your password in #s, or hashes, they have a shot at cracking your password.
When you change just one special character – or number or
letter, you’re only changing one #. You’re actually making your security worse
when you do that, especially if you have a really simple password and depend on
a &, $ or @ to keep your passwords secure.
Here’s what you need to know about keeping them secure,
and if you understand the principles, you’ll know why passwords can’t go away
- Don’t change just one number or special character.
If someone has managed to get close to your password, it doesn’t take much run
a program that swaps out 10 numerical characters and maybe eight special
- Don’t use short passwords. A computerized
analytics program can run through a short combination of letters and characters
faster than you read this sentence.
- Do use long passwords with combinations
of upper- and lower-case letters, numerals and special characters.
- Do change several numbers and/or special
characters when you change your password.
- Do make your passwords illogical. We all try
to keep some semblance of something we can remember because we need to have passwords
for so many websites or apps. But if a hacker catches onto your logic, you’re
We can’t emphasize strongly enough that password and
internet security get more critical every day. Hacking and ransomware attacks get
more prevalent, and the stakes are higher as we digitize every aspect of our corporate
and personal lives. Governments, agencies and school boards – Livingston here
in NJ being the latest – have fallen victim to ransomware attacks, and all face
the agonizing decision of whether to pay up or try to recover their data. The
latter can take longer and be more expensive than the ransom payment, but for
some, it’s a matter of principle.
This leads us to four other recommendations when it comes
to passwords and internet security:
fake answers for the security questions that accompany passwords on many
websites. So many of them involve facts that are the matter of public record,
including addresses, your first car and your maternal grandmother’s middle
a password manager program – and let it generate random passwords for every
online account you have or ever hope to have. You just need to remember one
password, and you can use it to download every password you have if and when
you need to know each one.
a real backup program for your data. OneDrive and Dropbox are good for storage,
and you can recover your data file by file. A backup program such as Azure
allows recovery and restoration more efficiently.
from passwords to biometrics whenever and wherever you possibly can. Biometrics
are becoming more available, and it makes sense to incorporate them where you
Contact us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email
to talk about a good backup program, a password strategy and/or moving to
biometrics. And above, practice safe password protection.