View Full Version : Passwords protect portals to sensitive information

03-06-09, 10:47 AM
Passwords protect portals to sensitive information
Cpl. Andrew S. Avitt

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa (March 6, 2009) -- Passwords control access to many things, all of which tend to have one thing in common, their need for protection.

By not taking computer passwords seriously, users might as well be giving them away, jeopardizing personal, financial or classified information.

Weak passwords, such as those containing names or familiar words leave networks vulnerable to attack and users open to identity theft.

Fortunately, creating strong passwords for screen names, emails and other online accounts isn't hard if users keep a few principles in mind, said Gunnery Sgt. Attiyyah Shakir, Information Assurance chief, 3rd Marine Division.

A good password consists of letters with different case values, numbers, and symbols in a random order if possible.

The more random the better, said Shakir explaining that it makes the password nearly impossible to guess. He also advises to create passwords of 15 characters or more.

According to a Microsoft Web site, a 15-character password composed only of random letters and numbers is about 33,000 times stronger than an 8-character password.

But a strong password means nothing, if the user is just going to write it down on a post it and stick it to their desktop, Shakir said. Not only should the users remember their passwords, they should have different passwords for each account or screen name, he added.