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How to choose the best password to stay safe online

January 11, 2018 5:29 PM
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In this digital age, passwords are what keep us safe from cyber-criminals trying to hack into our social media, emails and bank accounts.

Hackers have become increasingly sophisticated, meaning security is an increasing concern for people who want to keep their data and information safe. Having a secure password is one of the ways to do this.

After a cyber-attacker gains access to an email account, they can then use the 'forgot your password?' facility to access login information for other websites including online shopping or personal banking sites.

They could also use social media accounts to scam friends and followers by sending links to dangerous websites or asking for money.

No password is 100 per cent secure and many websites, including Google and PayPal are now using two factor authentication that adds an extra layer of security by requesting a short code sent as a text message to the user to verify.

Using to check how secure passwords are and how long would it take a computer to figure it out is also a good way of ensuring the security of the password created.

The University of Southern California's Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight came up with a password alternative and found that a 60-bit number would be much easier to remember if it was converted into a sequence of words.

They gave each of the 327,868 words in the dictionary a unique 15-bit code and developed a computer platform that would create a 60-bit numeric password. It would then be divided into four, with each 15-bit piece being assigned to a word. So that it would be memorable, the words were made into a two-line poem with eight syllables each and ending in a pair of rhyming words.

A random word generator like Diceware can also help you create a secure password. Each roll of the dice will correspond to the Diceware wordlist and the more words you have in your password, the stronger it will be.

It may seem like simple advice and it is but a bad password to use online is a common password. In 2015, password decoders attacked the Ashley Madison dating website and the results revealed how basic some passwords were. Examples included 'hello', 'DEFAULT', '123456', 'asdfg', 'superman' and 'iloveyou'.


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