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New Year, New You! #1 - Privacy and Security Tune-up

By Dave Pagenkopf

The New Year is a time to refresh our goals and tune up the areas in our life that aren’t where we want them to be. Over the next 10 weeks I am going to share some ideas to tune up your privacy and computer security.

The most important action to improve your online security is to use a strong password. The key to a strong password is a long password. The time it takes a cracking program to break your password is an exponential factor of the password length. For example, using the power of a typical laptop a 6 character password can be cracked in 8 days. However, it would take up to 83 years to crack an 8 character password and up to 5,000 years to crack a 10 character password. Long words may be hard to create, so think about using a passphrase instead of a password such as “MaryHadALittleLamb”.

Now if keeping track of all these passwords and phrases is a bit too much for you, then consider using a password safe. Theses programs store all your passwords for you, so you only have to remember one complex password. There are many out there to pick from.

PC Magazine just did a review of them, see the review here.

There are also some free ones out there. Some security geeks I know really like “KeePass.”

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