Aug 14 2008
It never ceases to amaze me how little knowledge people have outside their area of expertise. While I do think that its important to stay focused on your core abilities in your career, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a few things outside your comfort zone. One area that people should be somewhat familiar with that affects their daily lives are computer security and social engineering.
I recently had a request from a client to set his password for an account on our server to shoes. This is a very insecure password because hackers cycle through dictionary words in their cracking attempts and it would only take a few minutes to break into this account.
A better password would have the follow characteristics:
- More Characters: the longer the password is, the longer it will take to guess by brute-force techniques.
- Multiple Words: with each word separated by a number.
- Unrelated Word: choose words that have nothing to do with you, e.g. if you like pizza, don’t choose pizzaman. Social engineering experts can guess your password by learning a few things about you.
- Don’t Show Off: resist the temptation to tell your password to your friends to show how clever you are in thinking of it.
These basic techniques would prevent most hackers from logging into your account.