Do you share your password(s) freely?
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I am mentioning the Twitterank rumor from this evening (yes, the one I helped perpetuate) for the sake of this post. It brought to light an issue and really made me think.
How often have you willingly handed over a username and password to a third party or application?
If I learned one thing, it’s this: be aware of when you’re giving out your password–especially your username and password together. I’m not saying don’t do it…I’m saying be aware and use good judgment. If you’re ever doubting the validity of an application, ask your social network. There’s a lot of knowledge out there.
It’s one thing to enter your information on FriendFeed, but quite another on a fly by night “fun application.”
Imagine if an application asked for your ATM PIN number. You’d question where your information was going, right?
Whether it’s every two weeks or two months, a new practice to implement – change your password(s) OR build a stronger password. Want to check the strength of your current password(s)? Use Password Checker. (NOTE: Password Checker does not store your password and is safe to use.)
As I was writing tips for creating a strong password, I came across this post from Microsoft.
Couldn’t have said it better myself:
|1.||Think of a sentence that you can remember. This will be the basis of your strong password or pass phrase. Use a memorable sentence, such as “My son Aiden is three years old.”|
|2.||Check if the computer or online system supports the pass phrase directly. If you can use a pass phrase (with spaces between characters) on your computer or online system, do so.|
|3.||If the computer or online system does not support pass phrases, convert it to a password. Take the first letter of each word of the sentence that you’ve created to create a new, nonsensical word. Using the example above, you’d get: “msaityo”.|
|4.||Add complexity by mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. It is valuable to use some letter swapping or misspellings as well. For instance, in the pass phrase above, consider misspelling Aiden’s name, or substituting the word “three” for the number 3. There are many possible substitutions, and the longer the sentence, the more complex your password can be. Your pass phrase might become “My SoN Ayd3N is 3 yeeRs old.” If the computer or online system will not support a pass phrase, use the same technique on the shorter password. This might yield a password like “MsAy3yo”.|
|5.||Finally, substitute some special characters. You can use symbols that look like letters, combine words (remove spaces) and other ways to make the password more complex. Using these tricks, we create a pass phrase of “MySoN 8N i$ 3 yeeR$ old” or a password (using the first letter of each word) “M$8ni3y0″.|
I know. It’s annoying to remember all of those crazy passwords. If you use FireFox, check out 16 of the Best Password Management Tools for FireFox 3. Or, for those who want to manage one password, look into OpenID or OAuth? (Thanks @fogfish)
This is a living post. I invite you to offer your advice and comments below.