Are Longer Passwords the Answer to Better Security?

Sue Marquette Poremba
Slide Show

Safe Password Tips

Five aspects of good password management that employees should know.

As mentioned many times, passwords are usually the first point for network security, something that everybody uses.

 

So, it isn't surprising that there has been a lot of advice out there regarding passwords -- how often to change them, mixing letters and numbers, don't use something too obvious, and so on.

 

Now an article on BBC.com has called for yet another password change:

 


Passwords should be at least 12 characters long to be considered safe.

 

According to the article:

 

A team led by Richard Boyd from the Georgia Tech Research Institute has been investigating what effect the number-crunching power of modern graphics cards could have on the crackability of passwords. The parallel processing systems inside graphics cards are very good at carrying out so-called "brute force" attacks that effectively try every possible combination of letters and numbers until the right one is found. Longer passwords take longer to crack and offer better protection, say the researchers.

 

Are longer passwords the answer to improved security? Perhaps for a little while. I remember when passwords only needed to be four characters long -- and it wasn't all that long ago. It makes me wonder how long it will be before we are looking at 15 or 20 character passwords. As the BBC article said:

 

Ultimately, suggest the researchers, users may be forced to rely on whole sentences that are a mix of different sorts of characters to ensure no-one else can guess their password and get at online services.


Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 15, 2010 2:15 AM m3kw m3kw  says:

Keyboards very accurate, but have limits on how complicated it can input a unique signiture.  One day we'll need another accurate universal input method.  Accurate as in NOT facial or finger printing recognition, misfires make people hate to use it and thus not implement it universally.

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