Strong Passwords Protect You from IT's 'Dark Side'

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Smart people do dumb things sometimes-even smart people who work in IT who should surely know better. Creating weak passwords is one of them, especially when they are used as an initial safeguard for sensitive business information.


Just this weekend, a friend of mine (actually, the same guy who wanted to use his iPad for work purposes, but wasn't allowed) shared a story about a co-worker's poor password management skills. This co-worker needed my friend to log in to a work Web site using his password. Since this was a common occurrence given their job roles as network admins, that alone wasn't a problem.


The startling-not to mention utterly irresponsible-thing was that the co-worker's password was constructed very poorly and was so easy for a program to crack or for a person who knew him to simply guess. His password, a tribute to the Princess of Alderaan from "Star Wars," was "Leia."

Slide Show

Safe Password Tips

Five aspects of good password management that employees should know.


From a technical standpoint, the password was weak in several ways. For one, it was too short. It contained no numbers or symbols, making it easy for the wrong person with the right software to crack in no time.


His password was also far too easy for anyone who worked with him to guess. Having a sizable crush on the fictional character, he'd adorned his office with several posters and other "Star Wars" memorabilia. Looking to his decor for cues, a nefarious person would have tried some variation of that name.


The worst of these password management offenses, though, was that he assigned it to every computer or mobile device he used. His security "strategy," he revealed, extended beyond his work equipment, too. He also used this password for all the gadgets in his home that required them. And, this, coming from a network administrator!


We know you're smarter than that, but a refresher on the importance of good password management never hurts. I know I've needed to be reminded from time to time. Check out our "Safe Password Tips" slideshow and take a look at the password security resources in the Knowledge Network.


Make sure your first line of defense against hackers is as strong as it can be.


More from the Knowledge Network

Protecting Your Passwords

Sample Password Policy

Enterprise Password Management Guide