The social media was shocked when it was revealed that half a billion passwords from Yahoo’s database had been hacked; and the scariest part is that the breach happened in 2014, and was reported few days back.
How exactly can we ensure that our online passwords are protected, and hackers fail to crack the code to steal them?
Recently, a security expert stated that a 32-character long password is an almost assured way to protect one’s password, as hackers will have to spend a hell of a time to decode it.
But unless you use a specific tool or an app, remembering a 32-characters long password is impossible; human brain has its own limitations.
However, if we use some simple tricks, then we can actually create an unbreakable password, which will give nightmares to the hackers:
Researchers at University of South California conducted a research into creating strong passwords, and found that creating a poem can really help you in that objective.
In their paper titled “How To Memorize a Random 60-Bit String”, researchers Marjan Ghazvininejad and Kevin Knight found that using random words in a rhythmic poem will achieve two objectives: users can get phrases which are easy to remember, and the hackers will get a combination of words which would take billions and billions of variations to decode.
There is a webpage made by them, wherein users can try out random poems which can be used as passwords.
Some examples are:
The best way to make a password strong is to remove the ways it’s broken; and if we assume that making a 32 character long password is good enough way to make a strong password, then here is a method suggested by security expert Bruce Schneier.
As per his analysis, by converting a sentence into a password, the probability of hacking it is reduced, as the hacker won’t be able to predict the direct relation between the encrypted password, and it’s origin.
Some examples of using this method:
“Woohoo! The Packers won the Super Bowl!” becomes “WOO!TPwontSB”
“Please pick up more Toasty O’s at the grocery store” becomes “PPupmoarT@O@tgs”
And so on.
PAO or Person-Action-Object method of creating passwords was developed by Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists, wherein the power of visuals has been used for creating unbreakable passwords.
As per the scientists, the visuals, when combined with random objects and random actions makes the combination unbreakable and safe from hacking.
For example, select a famous place like Taj Mahal; a person like your maths teacher from class 12th and a random action like riding a horse.
How combine these three factors to form a sentence like ‘Your maths teacher riding a horse infront of Taj Mahal’
Once enough such stories have been generated, you can randomize the selections, and use them to create passwords, which you can remember.
Having said that, the most important rule while assigning a password is a simple rule: Don’t reuse a password, ever.
Do share your own methods of creating passwords, which are secured and easy to remember by commenting right here.
Well my Name is Ranjan Chatterjee. An Electrical Engineer from Asansol , India. I am the founder of MeraHost and the one behind this blog too.
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