Is Your Password – Password?

Below is the basic text from the speech.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Charles Dickens – 1859 – A Tale of Two Cities

Those classic opening lines, pretty much sums up what our life is like today.

We have the world at our fingertips – From the comfort of my couch, the entire universe is now open to me, it’s open to you and in fact most people in the world.

It is the best of times – I can access my medical information, my bank, credit cards, the news, the world, movies, you name it – I can see itall.

It is also the worst of times – the world also has access to me –  all my medical records, my banks, my credit cards, my preferences, my likes, my history – my pictures – my personal information. The age of personal privacy is gone.

So how do we minimize our risk to the outside world and all those bad guys that want to steal our information. And it happens all the time. JP Morgan 83 million users, Schnucks Target, PF Changs, Michaels, Home Depot – the list is long and growing.

There are three basic things to remember for internet safety.

spam1. You did not win the lottery.
2. Girls do not really want to meet you.

3. You’d better have a good password system for the hundred websites you visit and have to log into.

Now most people are wise enough not to be PT Barnum suckers and fall for number one and two, but many people don’t have a clue as to how to manage those 100 different websites and passwords that they have to keep track of on a daily basis.

Here are some basic password rules.

Rule #1 – Don’t use commonly used passwords. 

So that brings me back to the title of this program – Is your password – password?

While is sounds ridiculous, yes there really are people who use the word password as their password- I know one – a good friend of mine. And in fact if you look at the list of most commonly used passwords it’s usually rated either #1 or #2.


Again – don’t use any of those commonly used passwords, because that’s one of the first things hacker do is to go through the list and check and see if any of those work.

Rule #2 – Stay away from  dictionary words or names


Hackers run what they call dictionary attacks and quickly go through every word in the dictionary. They will also go through all possible names. Don’t use a dictionary word or names.

Rule #4 – Bigger is Better.


Hackers will probably go through the common passwords, do a dictionary attack and name attack and then if they will do a brute force attack

Here’s is a good website to see how long it would take an attacker to figure out your password.

Passwords need to be long. 16 characters is a good length to start with.

Rule #4 – Don’t use the same password on all your sites 


If they get the password for one account, then all your accounts are compromised.

Rule # 4a – Don’t use variations of the same password


Rule #5 – Security questions – LIE!


 Here’s another tip to remember – don’t answer those Security Questions truthfully. You don’t want to base your entire security on something that is fairly easy to find on the internet. Be creative and make up answers to all those security questions. Not that does means you’re going to have to write those answers down, but it’s better than having your bank account wiped out.

Rule#6 – Use upper and lower case, numbers and characters.


You’ve got this entire keyboard – make use of it.


At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself, there’s no way I can do all of that for every site I visit.

Well you can with this last rule – use a password manager.

I recommend using Lastpass.

While they do have a free version for your computer, if you want to use it on your tablet or phone, if will cost $12/year – just a dollar a month.

Have your phone number attached to the account as a security measure.

I’ve had a number of friends who have had their Yahoo email account hacked and it the hacker changes the password, it’s hard to get control of it again. If you have a phone number that can receive text messages, then this is an easy way to get back control.

To help you easily remember your password, consider using the first letter from each word in a sentence, a phrase, a poem, or a song title as a password.  Be sure to add in numbers and/or special characters.


About Tom Terrific

Interested in MANY things.
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