Security: How To Create A Strong Facebook Password
It’s almost funny if it weren’t so sad that many people still use their birthdays and sometimes names of favorite family members as their Facebook password. A good password is one that is impossible to guess. Many people know this already, but only a few truly understand the importance of creating a strong, impossible-to-guess password.
So why do you need a strong password?
Your password is what you need in order to prove to the computer that you are who you say you are. It functions like a normal house key, except that instead of carrying it around in your pocket or your wallet, you carry it around in your head.
Like a regular house key, passwords can be stolen. Someone using your password will pretend to be you in order to gain access to your account, files, or any other important information you store in your computer or database.
The computer has no way of knowing if it is really you or someone pretending to be you, the same way that your door has no way of knowing if it is you holding that key inserted into the keyhole.
For these reasons, it is important to safeguard a password, and one of the most reliable ways of safeguarding your password is to create one that is difficult to crack. So you will create highly complicated passwords – unfathomable letter combinations and numbers and symbols and upper case letters and lower case letters and whatever else you can add into the whole mix.
However, the main trouble about password security is that people will have to remember them in order to gain access to the network, whether it is a home computer network or an office network.
Now, if you were using a literal cocktail of letters, symbols, and numbers as a password, you would have to have exceptionally high capacity for remembering codes. The problem is not all people have brains that function like that.
In fact, most people are better at remembering words that actually make sense than a splatter of alphanumerics with who-knows-what meaning. As such, people naturally prefer the former when choosing or creating passwords.
Unfortunately, hackers are very, very smart. If, given enough computing power, time, and encrypted data, these hackers can compromise even the most complex cryptographic system, how much more a password that is easy to crack? It is like stealing candy from a baby, to borrow a line.
The purpose therefore of creating strong passwords is to make it as difficult as possible for the hacker to figure out, even if he had all the time in the world to crack it.
However, taking into account our admittedly human tendency to remember things in context, your password should also be one that you can relatively recall fairly easily – that is, they should not be completely alien to the brain, like all numeric codes, to make them easier to remember and store in our memory banks.
In fact, experts in network security highly encourage that you use a combination of numeric codes and letters of the alphabet as this will increase the number of odds and make it more difficult for the hacker to figure out the right combination.
Passwords to Avoid
Okay, you have to admit that there are only so many words that people use and so many numbers that it is difficult to come up with something totally original to make use of as a password.
More often than not, people will use the same password for all their accounts without even knowing that some other person in some other state or country is also using the same password because they thought it was unique.
Moreover, hackers use cracking devices specifically for the purpose of figuring out people’s passwords. These devices will run a list of all possible letter and number combinations and then all the hacker has to do is to try out each one until he gets the right one.
It seems like a tedious job, but cracking devices are actually very sophisticated software that can eliminate all the other odds in order to get the hacker closer to figuring out the right password. They have resources and a deep understanding of how people think (at least, when it comes to what passwords the average Joe would likely pick up) to make the whole task simple.
Now, couple that with all the wonderful technology at their disposal, and you are practically at their mercy, unless you take steps in avoiding the following weak passwords:
* Words in the dictionary, including any dictionary in any language or technical application (e.g. engineering dictionary)
* Your username or your real name
* Your spouse’s name or the name of any person you know, including family members
(This is because password crackers can easily get a list of 10,000 names or more and then run them through your system to see if one works)
* Words found in the “cracking dictionary”
(Yes, password crackers do keep a list of words that a lot of people use. This includes abbreviations; cartoons; character patterns; asteroids; famous names; Bible; movies; god, myths and legends; Password (the word itself); female names; male names; machine names; science fiction; songs; sports; number patterns; surnames; places; short phrases; Shakespeare; etc.
* Any common words with a single character before or after it (e.g. 1happy, Paris8)
* Any common words, capitalized (e.g., Soccer)
* Any common words, reversed (e.g., soccer à reccos), doubled (e.g., soccer à soccersoccer), or mirrored (e.g., soccer à soccerreccos)
* There was a time when it was a good idea to take a word and substitute some of the characters.
For instance, instead of using the word “password,” you can make it into this alphanumeric combination: P@$$w0rd. This is actually a good password, as far as the rules of creating good passwords are concerned. However, there are actually some cracking devices today that are designed to crack even those kinds of passwords, so you probably should not take this route anymore.
Now that you know what passwords to avoid, time for you to learn what makes a good password.
Creating a Strong Password
One of the first things to remember when creating strong passwords is the balance between coming up with a password that is complex enough to give crackers a hard time, yet easy enough for the user to recall. This shouldn’t be too difficult if you take note of the following tips:
The Six-Character Rule
A strong password should be one that is composed of six characters or more. This will make it difficult for a hacker to crack with a brute-force attack.
You can use as many characters as you like so long as you meet the minimum of six characters. However, note that there are some systems that establish a maximum number of characters.
Upper and Lower Case Combination
This was mentioned earlier. Passwords are made case-sensitive for a reason, and that is reason is to increase the security level of gaining access to your account. But in addition to upper and lower case combinations, strong passwords should also incorporate punctuation marks and numbers.
Now, one common mistake people make when it comes to passwords like this is they write it down to help them remember.
While these passwords are admittedly hard to recall, DO NOT make the mistake of writing them down anywhere or keeping a record of them anywhere in your system.
The License Plate Rule
This rule is simple. Just take a word or a phrase and then squeeze it into six or eight characters the way you would with a vanity license plate.
Small Words and Punctuation Marks
The good thing about passwords like these is that they are easy to come up with and easy to remember. Let’s take the word “coffee” for instance. Take that word and insert punctuation marks in there somewhere to mess up the crackers – i.e. “co%ff*ee”
Use Control Characters
This can be a good choice. However, note that there are some that bear special meanings. For instance, characters like ^U, ^H, or ^D might prevent you from logging in again.
Use Uncommon Phrase
Remember this rule: short phrases are a no-no. But uncommon phrases tweaked just so are okay. More than okay, in fact.
For example, let’s take a Latin legal phrase: “Dura lex sed lex”, which means “the law may be hard but it is the law.”
Now, take the last letters of each word to get this combination: “axdx.”
Finally, throw in a capital letter, punctuation marks, and numbers and you can come up with a hard-to-crack password like this: “Ax%d3x*”
Deliberately misspelling words is highly encouraged. This will make your password harder to crack.
And last but not least, try to come up with a password that is totally random to anyone else but not to you.
We can’t tell you how to come up with these because then if we ourselves can figure it out, then it’s probably not that random. So only you can really come up with random passwords that are difficult to crack. Just think hard and…USE YOUR IMAGINATION.
And once you have come up with a good, strong password using the above-given tips, the next important step is to continuously update your password. Six months is the maximum length of time you should keep using a password. Experts agree that this is the optimum period with which a password will remain secure and uncompromised. It will also take this long for a typical cracking device to crack your strong password.
If you have difficulties remembering the passwords you have created, consider using the free or upgraded version of RoboForm – the most respected and encrypted password saver available on the market.
FarmVille Toolbar: Never Miss Your Crops Again!
Zynga, the developers of FarmVile, have just released their new FarmVille Toolbar for the Mozilla Firefox browser. Never again will you forget your crops while surfing the web or playing other games!
The FarmVille Toolbar allows you to see in real time, the exact amount of time left until your crops are ready to harvest. Additional features, such as a notification icon for Facebook Inbox messages, a Google search box, as well as links to other popular Zynga games have also been included. Each of the features is editable once the toolbar has been installed.
As indicated, the toolbar will only work for those of you using Firefox 2.0 and above. Anyone who plays any Zynga game should already be using either Firefox or Chrome, as using IE will only frustrate you with its inability to support these resource intensive games.
The FarmVille Toolbar is extremely simple to install, but you first must allow it to connect with your Facebook account. This allows the toolbar to gather all relevant information to your farm and your neighbors wall posts.
Once you have allowed it to connect to Facebook, you will be provided with the installation link. After the install is complete, restart your browser to activate it. Once your browser is re-opened, you will see the following message:
You can change the information shown on the toolbar, by clicking on the Options link shown here to the left. This will bring up a variety of different features – test different layouts and choose the settings best for your need.
The FarmVille Toolbar ?
Create Your Own Facebook Gift Application
Have you noticed the number of Facebook members that use little apps to give gifts? Now you too can have your own app!
Facebook apps are the small quizzes and games that you see on many, many Facebook pages. On occasion, someone hits a bull’s-eye with the app they created and it becomes wildly popular. People love to use these apps to wind down as most require little thought to use. Millions of Facebook members use these apps. Why not be creative and tap into that market?
Some of those little apps are worth a small fortune while the vast majority of the apps have little or no monetary value. One of the things that they do have in common is that they drive traffic. The more widely an application is used, the more recognition factor there is. As a result of branding a little Facebook app successfully, traffic will inevitably increase to your site.
Increased traffic to your site means more eyeballs on your products and potentially more customers. It also means that you might be able to sell advertising on your site. The possibilities open to you are staggering. Even if all your Facebook app does is generate smiles instead of cash, it will give you a great deal of self-satisfaction.
You no longer need to be a developer to tap into the gift app market. David Bain has created a great, easy to use application that generates Facebook gift apps. It is at affordable an $97 right now, and has a package of bonuses that are extremely useful. With the 60-day refund policy if the Facebook Gift App Generator doesn’t meet your needs, the attractive package of bonuses, and the ridiculously low price for this type of app; why not get it and let your creative juices flow? Who knows, it might be your app that is the next “must have” for Facebook members.
Good Luck & Have Fun With It!
Digsby: The Must Have IM For Your Facebook Friends
Pulling your hair out keeping up with a dozen different social platforms? We know how you feel!
If you chat or socialize with your friends online, you know by now that everyone seems to be using something different.
Some friends use MSN, while others are using Yahoo and GTalk. You catch updates from family using Facebook, and your favorite actor on Twitter. Most Facebook users are probably fed up with Facebook chat closing, freezing and timing out too! Add to the mix having to login for new mail in you your Hotmail, Gmail and POP email accounts, and I am sure your head spins at times!
Digsby solves all of this.
Digsby combines all your Instant Messengers, email notifications, and Social Networking, all into one simple application.
No more logging into multiple applications every time you turn on your computer. Digsby does it for you. With their recent streamlined upgrade, the amount of resource hogging the application uses has been significantly reduced, giving your computer’s CPU a much needed break.
Current IM’s supported are:
- Facebook Chat
- Google Talk
Instant Email Notifications:
As mentioned above, having to log into numerous email accounts to check for mail can be a daunting task for many. Especially anyone who does any amount of socializing or marketing online. Multiple email accounts is almost a way of life!
Stop wasting time checking. Digsby will do it for you!
At the time of this post, Digsby supports: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL/AIM Mail, IMAP, and POP accounts.
Now you can easily stay up to date with friends and family, all in one place. No more logging into Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace to check your wall. Digsby does that for you too!
- Customize your look, using a variety of skins and themes.
- Update your Twitter, MySpace and Facebook statuses right from the Digsby platform!
- Supports Twitter retweets to help spread important updates.
- Now supports “Invisible” status on Gtalk.
- Logs all chat history, regardless of the platform.
- Multitask while you chat. Minimize the IM window and you see popups of new IM’s. Best of all, you can reply right from the popup and get back to what you were doing.
- CTRL +F to find anyone on your list, regardless of what service they are using.
The only downfall we have found is that currently Digsby is not available for MAC. Hopefully that is coming soon!
Go ahead and click the Digsby Download link. It’s 100% free and worst case scenario if you do not like it? Simply uninstall it.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://cmp.ly/0