Richard Munter and Jessica Westermann lead the unique partnership of Munter Westermann Arts & Media.  A cross-functional team, Munter Westermann has developed communication materials for leading environmental, arts, and service organizations.  We have expertise and extensive experience across multiple disciplines allowing us to design for and deliver optimally across different media.

Richard works on all stages of production including concept development, execution, and delivery on web, video, design, and performance projects. Learn more about Richard.

Jessica’s background lies in performing arts and administration.  She has a particular focus on instruction, design, and planning. Learn more about Jessica.

Richard Munter

Richard Munter

Jessica Westermann

Jessica Westermann

 

Is your password strong enough?

3050

You should read this post if your passwords look like this:

‘password’
‘robert1980’
‘1234567890abcdefghijklmnop’
‘qwertyuiop’
‘J0hnSm1th’

Or perhaps you use something from this list of worst passwords of 2015?

Try the Kaspersky Secure Password Check to see how your password measures up.

Check your password with Kasperky's Password Checker

In our increasingly digital lives, we require an increasing number of passwords and we are tempted to use simple passwords that we can remember.  Makes sense, but unfortunately, at the same time as we are in password overload, the tools and techniques for password cracking keep improving.  With ever faster computers and abundant cheap storage, hackers can quickly crack passwords.

And while password strength checkers are a good start, they may not accurately gauge the real world value of your password.  (Also worth reading is this article by Dan Wheeler). The password checker may report that a password is strong when in reality it can be quickly cracked. (Take this into account when using the Kaspersky Secure Password Checker.)  On the plus side, though some password strength checkers may be inaccurate, they do encourage us to use stronger passwords.

So what is the best password?  The ideal password is a long series of random characters incorporating lower case, upper case, numbers, and punctuation.  Try this one:

Kqx+ZZoi!0n!X^0}w1%pexg)IeYUbr5A^4WLpb/zeDs?T`$q:^(d+0Ds4P.0
%;3rBB6L"DX*qdTy$niy~}gl0}=X=NX!8+232CG11;eA,4}~e4|Oa$S%G@dH
WtKBq"WMJTq#dm*NlA%&o@ht^Xu%ESi)PL;[s]cU;XJ0{B|mEdw:3u)SGf'a
r94+jfUo<`lq[j08}9FAqsks,<:2iu\rOFeKNcE1SB63//Hbc(kj.zHRT,V[
[|$I'@UdN.zw+>wHoBk84#C)29aK^4:YP|jXZB}2Yd7:qkZ:In>"Ninf$Q\X
g7>1td<f2=yT+bxLpf1&B8cc=,Zli}8<@`BXX(6h|@voqF)5frZwrepEUxXd
inrQ/hY56Uk^!tL+q8uH`=.t?%iN^.+4}>=$re`f=P<$pHw[^8c9=}rHQ@C#
&ZlEXD!^U}H<y(LJS#x]$fg"<t6FfBm4k]cuR0v:wd^V"h^}[,XDN?XGBHYq

That looks pretty good.  Kaspersky estimates it will take 10,000 centuries to crack it by brute force.  Should be about long enough.  I use passwords that look exactly like this.  I don’t bother trying to remember these passwords – I use password manager KeePass.  It’s a secured digital vault for your passwords.  I’m a big fan of KeePass but you could also look at LastPass. KeePass also has a handy password generator or you can use this great online tool from Gibson Research.

My password tips:

  • use a password generator to create a random sequence including at least one uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and symbol
  • use as long a password as possible
  • store your passwords in a password manager like KeePass or LastPass
  • use unique passwords for each account
  • keep your password secret!

Now that’s all fine for most passwords but there are some passwords you will need to remember – like the one to access your password manager!  What kind of password should you use then?  I like this advice from Steve Gibson: include all the different types of characters and then go for password length.  He maintains that between the following two passwords, the first is better due simply to containing more characters (note that both contain uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols).

D0g.....................

PrXyc.N(n4k77#L!eVdAfp9

For all our complex firewalls and security measures, hackers first try knocking at the front door and often we leave the key in the lock when we use passwords that are easily guessed.  The techniques above add only a little complexity to my day but they add a considerable amount of confidence that the front door is shut to hackers.



2 Comments
  • KD
    May 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    This was eye-opening! I really thought I had cleverly devised my passwords but that Kaspersky tool thought not. Now one more thing to be paranoid about. Kidding! I plan to change them all very soon, and use the tips here. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Richard Munter
      May 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Hey KD! The tips above are pretty easy to put into action and you can make it so you only need to memorise a few hard passwords. Leave the rest for your password manager to worry about!

      Reply

Leave a Comment

We're glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and will not appear until approved. Your email address is required but will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>