Thursday, January 18, 2007

Passwords

Anyone who works in IT security or has ever worked the helldesk, oops I mean, helpdesk, knows that users don't choose good passwords. That's why we have these lovely complex password policies that the average user hates (must have at least 8 characters, and must contain a capital letter, a lower case letter, a number and a special character). The recent MySpace phishing episode shows just how bad the average users' passwords can be.

Users tend to use things that they won't foget, a few examples:

  • Their name

  • Their username

  • Words in the dictionary

  • Kid's name

  • Spouse's name

  • Pet's name

  • Birthday

  • "password"

  • Sequences of keys on the keyboard like "qwe" or "asdf"


The Dilbert comic strips for the past 2 days have been very spot on with "Dogbert's Password Recovery Service". Take a look at them here and here.

This article by Bruce Schneier is a good overview of secure passwords.

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