Password Tip of the Weekend
Here is a good little article explaining how hackers crack passwords and then offers tips to make a password that is easy to remember yet hard to crack. Read the article at Baekdal.com
A couple of tips I will add to that as you create passwords.
1. Never type a password you mind loosing on an protected Wi-Fi network. It is amazingly easy to grab a password that is flying over the air unencrypted.
2. Don't use the same password for secure and unsecure sites. If it is a little, no name operation, who knows how secure his sever is. Or if the web address starts with "http://" who cares how secure their server is, cause the password could get nabbed along the way. Look for "https://" at the beginning of your web address to avoid this.
3. Beyond what they mention in the article, one of my favorite ways to create a memorable yet secure password is to use a phrase and use the first letters off of the words. Such as "I like working at Creative Group in Wilmore, Kentucky". My password might be "ilwacgiwk". Now that is fairly secure. However, mix in some special characters, numbers and caps to kick it up a notch and you could get "Ilw@8GiWilmore,KY", which is more secure, but less fun to type, then any passphrase mentioned in that article.
4. For Mac OS X users, there is a built in tool to help you come up and/or check the level of security of your passwords. Open up your "System Preferences" under the Apple menu. Click on accounts, and then click Change Password. You don't need to actually change your password, just click on the little key icon. The "Password Assistant" comes up. If you want it to make up a password for you just select "Type: Memorable" and drag the slider to how long you want the password to be. If you want to make your own password, just to check how secure it is, select "Type: Manual" Then type in your password, if the security graph is about a third of the way up you're doing pretty darn good. (Just make sure to hit cancel in the change password box to keep from changing the password to your user account.)