A Pesky Problem that Prevents Progress!!

What would that be, you ask? If you had to guess, would you conclude:

Passwords? #!%&*@*!?

In my work with brilliant clients from many fields there is no more aggravating, yet no more predictable headache than that lost, forgotten, or mis-remembered password.

Before you explain why it happened last time, let me assure you:

It’s Not Your Fault

preventableRead that again.
Passwords are hard. Security is tricky. It’s annoying, and it’s always changing. Yesterdays password is not okay today. Last February I posted this helpful comic by xkcd, and although there is now some dispute about how secure the method really is, it’s still the best way to create your own strong yet memorable password.
Remember, we’re not preventing a person from guessing our passwords. Humans aren’t the threat. Machines are able to guess zillions of  word and number combinations in seconds, and your passwords need to stand up against that.

For the ultimate in secure passwords, AND if you’re a math geek or into puzzles, go read about Diceware Passphrase Handbook. It’s a fascinating discourse and tutorial about creating the strongest possible passwords. But, as interesting as this all is it’s not workable for most users. So what to do?

You Need a System

Which is why I am now going to pitch an actual product, something I seldom do. I use 1Password from AgileBits. It’s installed on my desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, it communicates through DropBox, so every device gets up-to-date information. With the hundreds of pwords I wrangle it’s saved my hair a lot of wear & tear.

It works by generating hard-to-crack pwords under one master password. I strongly recommend this for all my clients, and I will set it up for you for a small fee.

Why? because I see in my daily work how we lose so much time when we are stymied by our own passwords!! This is a very preventable form of suffering. Set yourself up with one master password that can unlock every account you need security for, which is all of them. Then finding that code is a few seconds instead of long minute getting off track.

Choosing a System

Please check out the available products and see what works for you, and/or call me to set up your password system on multiple devices. This is the trickiest part. If you expect to take an hour or so tinkering to get your master and devices all linked, and you utilize the online help available, you can certainly do it yourself.

Lifehacker has a good list HERE.  PC Magazine’s more extensive comparison is HERE

Or, go purchase 1Password, and tell ’em I sent you.

As usual please share your experience and opinion in a comment! And share this blog with anyone who would find it useful.

True Password Strength Needs a Story

I’m sure many of you are frustrated by managing passwords, I know I am.  Security concerns are rising as major retailers have been hacked. I’ve had a good system for some years but it’s beginning to fail as the requirements for secure passwords increase.

Along comes comic xkcd to save the day! This is the best explanation and example I’ve seen to cut the confusion!

I’m guilty of using the base word & numeral method. I figured my great vocabulary and intelligence could outwit hackers. LOL. It’s not the hacker you have to worry about, its the machine and it’s speed.

Seeing the diagram of ‘entropy bits’ and the formulas for decryption made it abundantly clear that my old system was fatally flawed.

Notice how the recommended method requires telling a story! Clever humans, we’re still smarter than the machine, especially if we think about the ways we really shine.