Over the summer, we (Elisabeth and Chi) attended the ISTS Security Camp, taught by Professor Michael Locasto. This workshop explores issues of internet security such as cryptography, digital forensics, privacy, and security awareness.
Out of all the interesting subjects we discussed, password vulnerability stood out most. Passwords are used by everyone in this digital age, so it is vital that they are secure. Some of the most common passwords are “123456”, “password”, “welcome”, “abc123”, and “qwerty”. (Are any of these one of your passwords??) Unfortunately, all of these passwords are surprisingly weak and easily hackable. To avoid this, the counselors listed some techniques on how to create effective passwords. First of all, a good passwords should always have over 8 characters including capital and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols. The passwords themselves should be unique; they can be made-up words or random things not related to you. It is useful to keep a list of your passwords for all your various accounts but do not keep it electronically.
Our instructors also advised changing your password every 3-6 months. For teenagers, we thought this approach was excessive, however, if you manage an online financial account or something of equal importance, perhaps this advice would be a good idea. In addition, it is important to use different passwords for different accounts. It might be convenient for you to have only one password but it is also convenient for a hacker. By identifying one password, the hacker will have access to your entire online profile.
Internet security is something we take for granted. By spending a little time to ensure that your passwords are secure you are doing a lot to protect your online privacy.