Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Passwords Are A Piece Of Cake -- For Cybercrooks

Date:
July 23, 2007
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
Choosing a good password is one of the many choices students make as they head to college, and it's a decision that should not be taken lightly, according to experts. What really makes a password difficult -- or easy -- for someone else to figure out? A computer cracker or identity thief will never know the name of your favorite great-aunt's cousin's dog -- so that's a good password, right?

Choosing a good password is one of the many choices students make as they head to college, and it's a decision that should not be taken lightly, says David Ripley, researcher at the Pervasive Technology Labs' Advanced Network Management Lab at Indiana University Bloomington.

Related Articles


What really makes a password difficult -- or easy -- for someone else to figure out? A computer cracker or identity thief will never know the name of your favorite great-aunt's cousin's dog -- so that's a good password, right?

"Sadly, that's not true," said Ripley. "Modern-day bad guys don't bother trying to guess your password themselves; they have computers do it for them."

Using special programs and huge lists of words, these cybercrooks try millions of different words -- long words, short words and foreign words. They can try every word in every dictionary, in every language on Earth; every dog's and cat's and goldfish's name imaginable. They try all those words with dIffErenT cApITaLiZation, and all kinds of oth3r vArati0ns! They'll keep guessing for hours, or even days -- the program doing the guessing never gets tired or bored.

"A random string of numbers and letters makes the best password," says Ripley, "Unfortunately those are very difficult passwords for most people to remember."

Ripley offers these tips on choosing and protecting a password:

  • Long and complicated isn't so hard. Think of a phrase that will be easy for you to remember; use the first letter of each word to make a new word, leaving in the punctuation, capitalization and any numbers. Here's an example: "My first cat was named Fluffy. He was orange, with stripes. He only had 3 legs!" Taking the first letter of each word makes "MfcwnF.Hwo,ws.Hoh3l!"…which would be a really good password. Much better than just using the word "Fluffy."
  • Longer the better. In general, choose a longer password, rather than a shorter one.
  • Since you might forget ... Don't write passwords on a sticky note and leave them on your monitor or near your computer. And definitely don't keep your password in a text file on your computer as crackers can potentially access them. However, keeping a list of your passwords in an envelope in a safety deposit box, home safe, or other secure location away from the computer can be a good idea, just in case of an emergency.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Passwords Are A Piece Of Cake -- For Cybercrooks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070721220922.htm>.
Indiana University. (2007, July 23). Passwords Are A Piece Of Cake -- For Cybercrooks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070721220922.htm
Indiana University. "Passwords Are A Piece Of Cake -- For Cybercrooks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070721220922.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Now 'Get' No-Cost Downloads In Apple's App Store

You Now 'Get' No-Cost Downloads In Apple's App Store

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Apple has changed its App Store wording from "Free" to "Get," as the European Commission and Federal Trade Commission seek to protect consumers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Blocks Its Own Ads With New Contributor Program

Google Blocks Its Own Ads With New Contributor Program

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Google's unveiled a crowdfunding platform dubbed Contributor, which allows people to pay for ad-free sites. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins