The longer your computer password, the harder it is to hack

As electronic devices,such as computers and smartphones become more universal, more people face the challenge of protecting their passwords.

“[My] number one tip is to make sure that you have uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters,” says Dan Stephenson, an instructor in the New Media Production program at SAIT.

In a recent interview, Stephenson said that you want to include all of those elements to have a good password, and one that is not something one could find in the dictionary.

“Hackers can do something called a Rainbow Table, or Dictionary Attack,” Stephenson explained.

A dictionary attack is a process by which hackers run through a list of common words and phrases as they attempt to hack into an account.

The best way to guard against such an assault is to make your passwords longer, incorporating special characters such as periods and tildes.

“The longer the password, the more it takes for computers to try and crack it,” he said.

Stephenson also recommends that students utilize LastPass.

“I often recommend to people to use a good password manager,” he said.

LastPass is a program that centralizes all of one’s online accounts and creates passwords that utilize the recommended techniques for optimal security.

Stephenson says that thanks to program, he doesn’t need to know any individual password for his accounts, just the one for LastPass.

“I just have to copy and paste it whenever I want to log in to Facebook,” he said.

Security professionals have vetted LastPass, Stephenson said, making it one of the more recommended password managers.

Ryan Haasen, a student as SAIT, says that he protects his passwords by making sure that he uses a different one for every account.

“[I’ve] never had any hacking,” he said.

The longer the password the more it takes for computers to try and crack it. – Dan Stephenson

Haasen says that he has also avoided using what are considered the most common passwords due to the restrictions that are placed upon many password systems.

“Maybe when I was younger,” he said.

On Jan. 20, Splash Data released a list of the most common passwords for 2014. Check it out here.

About Caleb Ross 6 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Caleb Ross is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.