CompSci 101: “Password? Who needs a password?”

BY ANDY BLECHER

Managing Partner/Network Engineer
Backplane Technology Group

Hello Rockland!! My name is Andy Blecher. I am a lifelong resident of Rockland with a wife and 2.4 kids. At least that’s what the census tells me! But that’s not all! I’m also a Network Engineer and Managing Partner of a local business named Backplane Technology Group. At Backplane Technology Group we help folks at home as well as in small offices around Rockland County with their computer and network issues. We provide engineer level service where the big companies don't go. We're here to help and empower. My hope is that this blog will help shed some light on common computer and network questions. Perhaps you’ll even find yourself a bit more savvy!
Hello Rockland!! My name is Andy Blecher. I am a lifelong resident of Rockland with a wife and 2.4 kids. At least that’s what the census tells me! But that’s not all! I’m also a Network Engineer and Managing Partner of a local business named Backplane Technology Group.
At Backplane Technology Group we help folks at home as well as in small offices around Rockland County with their computer and network issues. We provide engineer level service where the big companies don’t go. We’re here to help and empower.
My hope is that this blog will help shed some light on common computer and network questions. Perhaps you’ll even find yourself a bit more savvy!

Too often I come across computers, smart phones, even servers, and other network devices without a password. “Nobody is going to break into this? Why would they want to? There’s nothing valuable on my computer.”

Wrong. You’re computer has a lot of value. Ever been somewhere and entered a password? Perhaps, say, your bank? Well, that info is somewhere on your computer whether it’s internet history or in a password excel sheet. Do you have your browser set to automatically remember your passwords? Does everyone in your house have unrestricted access to your computer? If they do, so does a hacker.

Okay. I didn’t mean to create a little hysteria. What I would like to do is impart a little information that can save you a big headache and maybe even some money.

If you don’t have a password for your computer now is a good time to come up with one. Forget the name or word you just thought of. It’ll take all of a few seconds to crack with the right software. A good practice to get into is thinking of a phrase and taking the first letter from each word. Then, if you want to get fancy, add a number or two. Maybe even a symbol. To password cracking programs it will amount to mush. Basically babble and will take much longer than it’s worth to crack.

Let me demonstrate. “I am looking down my driveway at the beautiful mailbox”. Nice phrase. Easy to remember.  So, now let’s take the first letter from each word and put them together. “Ialdmdatbm”. That’s not even a word! It’s gibberish. And it makes cracking your password much more difficult. But let’s make it even MORE difficult to crack! ~Remember, you know this phrase. So you’ll always know your password. Even as difficult as it looks. ~ Next, let’s add a “!” to each side.  “!Ialdmdatbm!” Want to get even fancier? Add numbers to the password. Substitute the number 1 for the first character. Or make one of the letters in CAPS. It’s up to you!  Now we have “!1aldmdatbm!”. If you like you can even keep the quotation marks!

What we have is total gibberish. This is considered a very strong password. And one that only you know. This is not to say it CAN’T be hacked. But it will certainly deter anyone sniffing around or probing your computer from the internet. Not to mention kids that think they know your passwords!

This technique can also be applied to passwords for websites, wireless routers, really anything that can be secured with a password.

Hopefully, this will help you feel a little more secure and empowered…

At Backplane Technology Group we help folks at home as well as in small offices around Rockland County with their computer and network issues. We provide engineer level service where the big companies don’t go.
We’re here to help and empower. Call us at 845-418-2680 or visit us at http://backplanetechnologygroup.com.