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The original item was published from 9/22/2020 11:19:00 AM to 1/1/2021 12:00:00 AM.

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Secure Jeffco News

Posted on: October 12, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Make passwords fun!


We all want to protect our digital lives but - passwords - UGH!

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  Cybersecurity Awareness Month was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance & the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in October 2004.  It was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.  This year, during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Jefferson County Cyber Security team is sharing several articles during October to help you better protect your online information as well as sharing ideas about how to have fun with passwords.  

In this article, we share ideas about ways to make passwords fun to create and use.

Passwords can be frustrating, but passwords play a crucial role protecting your digital world.  The same way you take steps to protect your physical assets from criminals (ex. locking your house and your car), you should take steps to protect your online assets.  

Historically passwords have been the only mechanism by which you can authenticate into your online accounts. In recent years, more authentication options have been developed.  Authentication options are often referred to as factors.  An authentication factor is typically one of three things:

  • something you KNOW- like a username and password  
  • something you HAVE - like a code sent to a cell phone
  • something you ARE - like a fingerprint or facial scan

Requiring multiple factors for authentication into your online accounts makes it more difficult for criminals to gain unauthorized access because they need to know something you KNOW and have access to something you HAVE or ARE.

While many services have added a second authentication factor, usually it is a supplement to your password - meaning passwords are still critical to protecting your accounts - Ugh.   Because passwords continue to be important, here is one tip that can make passwords fun:  Use a passphrase as a possible whenever possible.  

A passphrase is a short sentence or a string of unrelated words.  

  • An example of a sentence turned into a passphrase is: mNY’sgi2r26.2!   The original sentence was My New Year’s goal is to run a marathon!  The passphrase is the first letter of most of the words in the sentence and a few substitutions (to=2 and marathon=26.2).  Having this as a password can be a nice reminder and encouragement around a goal you set for yourself.
  • An example of a string of unrelated words is: quail wookie unmade spider.  Yes, many sites allow you to use spaces in your passwords.  This is a fabulous passphrase and it would take 7 septillion years to crack.  Who wouldn’t have fun typing this password everyday?

Try it out.  See if you can create a password that is both difficult to crack and makes you smile every time you need to log into your accounts.

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