Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

4/2/2021

Password Rules

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Fun,Geek Work,News and Current Events,Truth and Consequences — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Do you know those horrible password rules about adding random characters and numbers and stuff?

IT professionals hate them, too. Honest. I can say that because I am, in fact, an IT professional and have been for just shy of thirty years. (You can read more about my qualifications to call myself an IT pro at my other website, which includes Jim Hoffman’s CNE Resume, because, yes, I’ve been doing this so long I’m certified in things that no one really uses anymore.) I remember when the standard for passwords changed, requiring normal people to do things like including special characters or numbers and a mix of upper case and lower case letters. We were told that it would make the resulting passwords exponentially harder to guess. At the time, that may have been true, though I doubt it. It turns out, those rules were written by a government bureaucrat who used an out-of-date white paper to make his recommendations. And, now, even that bureaucrat regrets making those rules that only make your password harder to remember. Also, all that advice about translating a famous quote into a password by changing out words for symbols or letters? Essentially useless. With the computing power of moderns machines, the randomness of a short password really doesn’t matter at all. Length is the real key. So, having a password like “P@SSw0rd” isn’t significantly more secure than “password”, except, of course, that hackers are likely to guess the simple words first and “password” is actually one of the ten most popular passwords. So don’t use that. What’s better is to use a longer password, like an entire sentence without punctuation. And, if you have to include numbers and special characters, just tack them at the end or beginning. In other words, something more like “MyPasswordIsVerySecure@9”, because the length of that password IS exponentially harder to guess than “password”. Don’t believe me? Then just look at this infographic that shows how the length of your password is really the determining factor in how hard it is for hackers to crack.

How Long Would Your Password Last Against An Expert?

Of course, some systems limit the length of a password, unfortunately, but, until everyone else catches up to us, you have to work with what you’re given.
Come back next week to see what uncomfortable truths I have to share with you!

This post first appeared on Use Your Words!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."
   --Abraham Lincoln

7/15/2009

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Fun,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:42 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

No, seriously, don’t quit your day job.

Right, so most of you regular network geekophiles know that I’m a mildly repressed, slightly frustrated writer, among other things.  Many have been the day that I sat and dreamed of making a full-time living as a science-fiction or fantasy writer, setting my own schedule, free from the pressures of endless demands for instant service.  Well, it turns out that may not be the best idea.  For one thing, it’s hard to make a living at the fiction writing thing.  Certainly, a down economy is not the best time to roll dice that big.  Also, there’s the question of things like health insurance and retirement savings.  So, while I try to figure out some other creative ways to enrich my professional life, I’ll be thankful that my job really isn’t that bad.

And when I feel like it is, at least I know I’m not alone. So, if you’re feeling oppressed by the Man, know that you’re not the only one and check out some Science Fiction Writer’s Cruddiest Day Jobs.
I don’t know about you, but it gives me hope that, if they could do it with those day jobs, well, maybe I can do it with mine.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Aw, damnit, I left my spontaneous quips in my other pants."


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