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Passwords Fail the Security Test

Passwords are the first line of defense in almost every company's security scheme. But sometimes they are the weakest link because they can be easily guessed, stolen or otherwise compromised. If a firm wants to keep its information secure, then it needs to put additional security checks in place.

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Creating stronger passwords

If you've ever lost your wallet, you know the sense of vulnerability that comes with it. Someone might be walking around with your identification, pretending to be you. If someone stole your passwords, they could do the same thing online. A hacker could be opening new credit card accounts, applying for mortgages, or chatting online disguised as you - and you wouldn't know it until it was too late. Read on to learn how you can help protect your identity online by creating stronger passwords.

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Passwords multiply as users' rage rises

Passwords are essentially combination locks: The more complex the password, the tougher it is to crack. Yet security specialists describe groan-out-loud encounters with people who guilelessly use part of their Social Security number, their telephone number, a family name, a pet name or a street name as a password. Others use easily cracked sequential numbers such as "1234" or just the word "password". Others write passwords on paper and stick them to their computers. Worse still, consultants say, are those who rely on a single password for everything.

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Simple Passwords Expose Your PC to Attack by 'Backdoor' Worm

On July 2, several Windows machines on campus were infected with the Backdoor.IRC.Flood.E worm before security personnel were able to shut it down. The virus, an IRC Trojan that scans for Windows machines and attempts to log in to them with a defined set of simplistic passwords, contaminated all of these campus machines in less than 30 minutes.

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How to use passwords securely

Passwords have become, without doubt, users' ID cards in the Internet. Thanks to passwords, you can prove who you are and unauthorized access can be blocked. However, by the same token, should a malicious user steal or discover this data, they can take on your digital identity.

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What makes a good password and how do I select one?

The first thing to understand, is what makes a bad password. The worst passwords are: password, 111111, fred, master, boss and whatever is the name of your organization/department/unit. Why are they bad? Because they are obvious, easy to guess and just plain stupid.

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