Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Picking a Password

Every couple of months at work, the computer tells me my current password will be expiring in 14 days and asks me if I want to change it now. I always say no until I only have one or two days left, because it always seems difficult to pick a new password and I'm so familiar with the current one, I'd rather not change it until I absolutely have to.

The longer I work there (just a month short of five years!), the more I'm getting to the point where I've used all the obvious choices and I need to pick something a little more fresh and less obvious. According to the experts on the Internet, a good password is one that is hard for someone else to guess and easy for you to remember. Which means you shouldn't use your kids' names or those of your pets. They also say you should use a minimum of 8 characters, with a combination of upper case and lower case letters as well as numbers.

One article I read said the ten most common passwords are:

- god
- lust
- money
- private
- qwerty
- secret
- sex
- snoopy
and (it's a wonder we have survived this long)
- password.

I can honestly say I have never used any of the above as my login password, although I will admit that I have used the word "private" to secure an individual file here and there. Nor have I ever written my password on a sticky note and kept it under my keyboard, but apparently there are those that do.

I found this webpage from MIT to be a good guide for picking a new password: The scariest advise on that list is not to use any word in any dictionary in any language. Well, that kind of narrows it down, doesn't it??? Apparently, there are computer programs that can crack your password this way.

Now I'm guessing that the chances of anyone trying to break into my computer at work are pretty slim to none, although there might be a hacker out there somewhere that randomly picks my workstation for fun. So I'll have to figure out that new password pretty soon, as I've only got about 11 days left. The people at MIT say misspelled words are good to use, so maybe I'll use some sort of LOL cat message. What do you think - I can haz passwerd??

1 comment:

Mary said...

Thanks for the really nice comment you left about my journal! I know what you mean about passwords. I tend to pick one and stick with it forever - for everything. Probably not a good idea.