Online Hygiene

Safe Password Practices

Maxwell’s Tech Program for Thursday, May 23, 2019

XKCD #936 (“Password Strength”) by Randall Munroe
License: CC BY-NC 2.5

Contrary to the Hollywood depiction, most computer hacks don’t come about because some super- genius finds a way to crack a database of encrypted passwords. Cracking strong encryption is a very time consuming process, but guessing what someone’s weak password is might be fairly easy.

You undoubtedly know not to use 11111111 or your birthdate as a password. You probably know to use a combination of digits, special symbols, upper-case letters, and lower-case letters (many sites require this). But there are probably at least a few sites that you use the same password for, and it might be the case that you carry a written list of your passwords with you.

Today’s Tech Program presents some techniques and tools for coming up with safe passwords, for safely having them at your fingertips when you need them, and for added security beyond good password practices.