Tech Talk A software developer on all things tech, and then some

8Dec/100

5 Steps To Making a Password Your Grandma cant Hack

When we think of a computer hacker, people tend to think of the cliché 80's programmer. However the truth is in 's programming world, your grandma can even do some hacking and password cracking. There are plenty of sites that offer solutions to crack passwords, but Im going to stick to the security sides of things here today. So here are the 5 steps you can do to keep your passwords safe.

Step 1 - Create a Three Character Identifier

If you were to create one password for everything, a hacker would be able to access any site he or she knew your login name to. The best and most secure method is to create a password for each site. An easy way to remember what each password is for each site, you can create a 3 character identifier for each site. First pick the three letters to be used. Then replace those letters with any resembling digits to throw off  a dictionary hack.  For example :

  • Facebook - fb0 (for fbo)
  • Myspace - mys
  • Google - g03 (for goe)

Step 2 - Creating a Logical and Safe Name For the Master Word

The next step is to create a name that you can use as a master which will span across all the passwords. There are certain dos and donts here you will want to follow.

Dont's

  • God
  • Love
  • A name of a relative
  • Name of a pet
  • Any of your phone numbers
  • Any Part of your address
  • Where you work
  • Birth date
  • Social Security Number
  • Anything that can be easily found out about you

Do's

  • Name of your favorite artist or actor
  • Name of place in which you would like to visit
  • Name of favorite food
  • Name of favorite car
  • Anything which is hard to look up about you

Step 3 - Lightly Encoding the Master Word

Say in the previous section you picked Ireland as your master word. We would now encode the name first in leet. Ireland now become 1r3l4nd. There is an additional step you can take, however it makes it extremely difficult to remember. This would character shifting. In character shifting, you rearrange the letters in the words in a order which seems easy to remember for you. For example, 1r3l4nd would be switched to l4nd1re (landire, or ire-land switched).

Step 4 - Determine Capitalization

An easy addition to the password which adds another 26 to the character set is capitalization. Pretty straight forward, capitalize certain letters or parts of the password which makes sense to you. My 1r3l4nd  now becomes 1r3l4ND since 's easy for me to remember to capitalize the last two letters.

Step 5 - Inserting Special Characters and Combining The Names

Now you have two parts to your password, the identifier, and the master word. A great way to increase you password security further and help separate the two is to insert a special character between the identifier and the master word. So if I used fbo for facebook and kept my 1r3l4ND name, I would insert a colon or other special character between them, making fbo:1r3l4ND as my password.

Note: Some websites dont allow the use of special characters in passwords so I would just combine the two. Ex. fbo1r3l4ND.

Conclusion

Just a note of security, if I was to hack ireland before, it would take 1 and 1/4 min with a common desktop PC. Now with fbo:1r3l4ND, it now would take 2¼+ Years to crack. I hope this helps you all become more secure. Please comment and feel free to let me know of other methods to help secure passwords.

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