More About Passwords

Spam Bots on the Rise
…and denial among friends

After seeing the “droppings” of several spam bots over the last few days, I reminded a group to be careful and use good passwords. I was almost instantly confronted with someone who insisted that even good passwords get hacked. Sigh. That’s just simply not the case, if you believe in Math.

The Long and the Short of It

Since good passwords use long strings of 8 or more characters from our alphabet, numerals, and symbols, they can require a up to 22,875 years to crack the password. Even an “army” of supercomputers needs 83.5 days. Who among us is that desirable? I know my facebook account isn’t that coveted!

By contrast, weak passwords (6 lowercase letters of a fairly uncommon name in the US) can be broken instantly with an “antique” computer.

Comparing Apples to Apples

So, according to lockdown, a “Fast PC, Dual Processor PC” can crack a common 6-letter password instantly, but needs 23 years to crack one that uses upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. I don’t know about my friend, but I don’t think I’ll still have email and facebook in 23 years.

Recommendations Strong Password Definition, Requirements and Guidelines

  • “Be seven or fourteen characters long, due to the way in which encryption works. For obvious reasons, fourteen characters are preferable.
  • Contain both uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Contain numbers.
  • Contain symbols, such as ` ! ” ? $ ? % ^ & * ( ) _ – + = { [ } ] : ; @ ‘ ~ # | \ < , > . ? /
  • Contain a symbol in the second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth position (due to the way in which encryption works).
  • Not resemble any of your previous passwords.
  • Not be your name, your friend’s or family member’s name, or your login.
  • Not be a dictionary word or common name.”

Sound like a lot of work, huh? Well those same good people at can save you that time. Their site will generate a strong password for you. Yippie!

Added Benefit

A good password is also a deterrent. Bots that try to hack passwords are going to go after the short ones, first. They are the most vulnerable.

It’s a little bit like being safe with a laptop in your car:

  • You can leave it in full view in the front seat, just “begging” to be stolen.
  • You can leave it in the car, covered with a jacket, making a would-be robber think twice about the risk vs. the reward.
  • You can carry it in a non-laptop looking bag and keep it stored in the trunk.

Of course, any thief will simply move on to the car with the one in the front seat!

Do It For All Of Us

Don’t be that person we all have to unfriend on facebook because of a supposed teen suicide caught on camera that is spamming our friends, family, colleagues, and clients. Create/get good passwords for your bank sites, email accounts, and social media pages. Be a good steward of your whole community.