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Choosing strong passwords and making sure that you keep them secure is very important. But doing so isn't nearly as difficult as you may think!
Hackers and criminals can get your password in a number of ways:
  1. Guessing at words or numbers related to you, e.g. your date of birth, the name of your pet.
  2. Dictionary attacks - automated computer programs that look for parts of a password that are real words in a dictionary.
  3. "Brute Force" attacks - trying all possible combinations of characters one at a time.
  4. Looking for passwords that you've written on sticky notes or whiteboards.
  5. Finding passwords that you've saved on computers.
  6. Shoulder surfing - watching as you type on a keyboard.
  7. Social engineering attacks (tricking you into giving out personal information).
You can make it tougher for hackers to 'crack' your password (methods 1-3) by choosing a strong password. And you can make it more difficult for hackers and criminals to obtain your password using methods 4-7 by managing your password carefully.
The articles and links on this page will give you some guidance on what to do.

Featured Links

  • Why Word and Excel password protection isn't safe 
    Both Microsoft Word and Excel allow you to 'protect' a document with a password. However, this security is very weak and the passwords can easily be cracked using tools available from the Internet. This article tells you a little about the problems.
  • Times to Crack a Password 
    This document gives approximate times for a computer (or a cluster of computers) to guess passwords of various complexity using a brute force approach.
  • Password Safe (Open Source Tool) 
    Password Safe is an Open Source (free) tool that allows you to have different usernames and passwords for all the different programs and websites that you use, without actually having to remember them all. The program runs on PCs under Windows (95/98/NT/2000/XP).

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