Tag Archives: password

Is Your Password Strong Enough?


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If you’re like me, you probably have dozens of different passwords. We all know that in order to protect ourselves online, we must have strong passwords. How do you know, though, if your passwords are strong enough?

Head over to The Password Meter. This is a free service that will check your password for you and report back to whether your password is weak or strong. The Password Meter checks for minimum requirements of at least eight characters, and at least 3 out of the following 4:

  • Uppercase Letters
  • Lowercase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols

It measures your password by several factors:

  • Number of Characters
  • Uppercase Letters
  • Lowercase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols
  • Middle Numbers or Symbols
  • Requirements

At the same time, “points” will be deducted for things like having letters or numbers only, repeating characters, and sequential and consecutive characters. This is an excellent test, and I highly suggest you check every one of your passwords using this. Also, when you’re ready to set a new password for something, why not run it through this test prior to using it? It only takes a few seconds. Isn’t your peace of mind worth those seconds?

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Password Help

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In this day and age, you can’t be too careful online. You have to keep your information safe, by choosing unique, impossible-to-guess passwords. Here are some tips sent in by Daniel to help you stay secure.

  • Don’t use familar names or dates as passwords. Take the time to create a password that is totally unique and yet is still rememberable for you, and only you.
  • Use all parts of the keyboard. For example, instead of using a word, use a series of characters on the keyboard such as two lower case, two upper case, two numbers, and two special characters like ! and @. Also, try to use the entire keyboard, not just one small area. This may help prevent a hacker from lucking into your password.
  • Don’t write down your password! The execption to this is in the event of emergencies. Create a list of passwords for use only in an emergency, such as the bank or possibly important websites that can help authorities find you in the case of and emergency ie: myspace or twitter. Do this with the greatest caution. Seal the list in a security envelope, and sign the seal. Place that into another larger envelope, and seal and sign. Only give this list to someone who you really trust like a spouse or parent.
  • Change your password often. I change my passwords every six months or sooner. The longer you stick with the same passwords the more vunerable they become. Also periodically delete your cookies on your computer. This will prevent someone accessing your info because the computer remembers your password. Never use the auto fill features of the internet browser. This is just plain unsafe and leaves you open for identiy theft.
  • Finally, don’t use the same password for everything. If a hacker figures out that password, he will gain access to all your password protected areas. Have a plethera of passwords to choose from that are not simualr to each other. Also be careful when using a password generator. Never give out personal info to generator sites, and make sure the generated password meets or exceeds all the other criteria.

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Privacy

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In this day and age, you can’t be too careful with your personal information. We all know I’m not a private person in any way, but I do value your privacy and want to help keep you safe. Here are some excellent tips that Josh sent in, to help your data and identity stay secure.

  • Don’t shop online or check your email on public computers, or when using unencrypted wireless networks. If you do have to do these things, be sure you log out and clear any cookies and login information you possibly can. Also, try using After Work on a U3 Flash Drive if possible. After Work erase online and offline history: Temporary Internet Files, IE history, typed urls, opened documents, started programs, temporary registry values.
  • Only visit trusted sites for downloads. For example, if you need to download drivers for hardware, check the manufacturer’s website first. Don’t rely on a Google search. You may end up entering personal information to get your download, or even paying for things that should be free.
  • Keep your passwords long and difficult. You more than ten characters, add punctuation where allowed, add a mixture of letters and numbers, and mix up your capitalization with lowercase letters. There are a couple of excellent password managing tools out there, including the open-source KeePass, and RoboForm. The simple version of RoboForm is free. However, if you’d like a paid version, I can save you 20% if you ask nicely.
  • Create a password for your BIOS. This will make it impossible for anyone to get onto your computer without the password. This is a password that must be entered before the OS even loads. Also, change your Windows password often, to prevent anyone from figuring it out.
  • Encrypt your data. TrueCrypt is open-source (FREE!) software that will encrypt your data as it is entered.
  • Two bonus tips: Make use of hidden files and folders, and keep the option to view them turned OFF. Also, change file extensions whenever possible.

These are excellent privacy tips, Josh. For everyone else, what other privacy tips do you have that you want to pass along to the rest of the world? Leave them for me in a comment to this video, or email them to me at [email protected]

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Recovering Windows Passwords


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – The gal who uploads videos for me called in tonight needing help with her daughters’ brand new laptop. Apparently, the daughter set a password on the ONLY Admin account, and then promptly forgot it. Kat had already installed all the programs, transferred music, etc and doesn’t want to have to format.

At first I was hesitant about doing this video. We all know that what I say can be used for nefarious purposes. I want to point out that is NOT my intention here at all. However, there is often a legitimate need for someone to be able to recover their password. Let’s face it. We all forget a password at some point. When that password is keeping you from being able to get into your computer at all… it can be disastrous if you have important work or school files on there. This was the case with Kat and her daughter. Being a Microsoft MVP in the area of Windows Security, Kat well knows the dangers of teaching people how to bypass or reset a password. However, she agrees with me that there are definitely people out there who really need this help.

All that out of the way, let’s get down to helping her! Several people in the chat room are recommending using a Ultimate Boot CD. Looking around, I think that’s going to be the way to go. You can also try SamInside. That looks like a powerful choice, as well. It’s not free, of course… and we know the reason why. Hopefully having to pay for this will stop people from using it for evil reasons. Another chatter is suggesting OphCrack. However, that is a Linux based utility, and may be difficult for you to use.

This is why I recommend using a password storage program, or even an online based one. This way, you can always look up your passwords. Heck, keep a small notebook hidden somewhere with your passwords written in them! Just don’t ever use the same password on every site, and don’t use something easy to guess! I hope everything works out ok for you, Kat. Make sure you let us know what happens!

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