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Play It Safe: Hackers use the back door to get into your computer; a strong, well-chose... - 0 views
For the home user, however, password safety requires more than on-the-fly thinking. Pacheco suggests a system built around a main word for all instances. The distinction is that the name of the site is added somewhere. For example, if the main word is "eggplant," the password might be "eggyyplant" Yahoo, "eggplantgg" for Google or "wleggplant" for Windows Live. He suggests listing the variations in an Excel spreadsheet.
Hackers rely on a lot of methods. Some, Rogers said, employ "shoulder surfing." That means what it sounds like -- looking over someone's shoulder as that person is typing in a password
The type of hardware being used can be a clue, said Rogers, a senior technical staffer in the CERT Program, a Web security research center in Carnegie-Mellon University's software engineering institute. It's easy to find a default password, typically in the user's manual on a manufacturer's Web site. If the user hasn't changed the default, that's an easy break-in.
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Other people use easy-to-remember passwords. Trouble is, Rogers said, they're easy-to-guess passwords, too. Good examples of bad passwords are your name, your family's names, your pet's name, the name of your favorite team, your favorite athlete or your favorite anything
Most of the password hacking activity these days goes on at homes, in school or in public settings. These days, many workplaces mandate how a password is picked.
The idea is to choose a password that contains at least one uppercase letter, one numeral and at least eight total characters. Symbols are good to throw in the mix, too. Many companies also require that passwords be changed regularly and that pieces of older ones can't be re-used for months. And user names cannot be part of the password. Examples: Eggplant99, 99eggpLanT, --eggp--99Lant. For the next quarter, the password might change to variations on "strawberry."
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