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Change Your Password as Soon as You Read This

Posted: August 9, 2017 at 1:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

In all likelihood, your current jumbled password is easy to crack.

The official government guidelines for creating an unhackable password were established in 2003 by a man named Bill Burr. In an 8-page guide, he decreed that passwords should be made from strange mixes of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols and that they should be changed regularly. In theory, that meant passwords like Tr0ub4dor&3. In practice, people picked everyday words like “Password” and tacked on a new number or character every time they were forced to update it.

“It just drives people bananas and they don’t pick good passwords no matter what you do,” Burr, now retired, told the Wall Street Journal. It is also obviously very hackable.

So, forget everything you thought you knew about cyber-security and create a password that actually works, per the new government guidelines, which were completely rewritten in June. The most user-friendly updates nix the requirement for special characters or password expiration (unless there are signs your account has been compromised). They also support the idea that while nonsensical phrases of letters and numbers that are nearly impossible to remember, phrases of four or more random words strung together are easier to remember and much harder to crack.

To illustrate this concept, cartoonist Randall Munroe said it would take only three days to figure out the password “Tr0ub4dor&3,” but 550 years to crack “correcthorsebatterystaple.” So even passwords are written to Burr’s specifications—and not dumb shit like “Peni5$$”—are outdated in this tech era.

In short, pick four words you’re likely to remember and squash them together into a single phrase. And if an account is still making you update your password regularly, know that it is a complete waste of your time.

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