It's World Password Day and you can celebrate it by fixing your crappy passwords.
Wired rounds up excellent advice from seven experts on good password hygiene. The three most important tips are:
1. Keep your passwords long (rainbow tables scale exponentially — meaning that even a little added length makes cracking a lot harder)
2. Make them complicated (nevertheless, rainbow tables will likely contain hashes for passwords like 11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111)
3. Don't reuse them.
3. Don't Bunch Up Your Special Characters
Many password input fields now require you to use a combination of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. That's fine! Just keep them separated.
"Put your digits, symbols, and capital letters spread throughout the middle of your password, not at the beginning or end," says Lorrie Faith Cranor, FTC Chief Technologist and Carnegie Mellon computer science professor. "Most people put capital letters at the beginning and digits and symbols at the end. If you do that, you get very little benefit from adding these special characters."
It's that "most people" part that gets you in trouble. "It's about predictability based on how many people do it," says Cranor. Avoiding front- or backloading your passwords with special characters also gives you a lot more real estate to work with, which creates a bigger bottleneck for anyone trying to break in.
7 Password Experts on How to Lock Down Your Online Security [Brian Barrett/Wired]
(Image: ENTER YOUR PASSWORD, Marc Falardeau, CC-BY)