How Using Passphrases Can Stop The Bad Guys In Their Tracks

When it comes to passwords, some of us are good at picking them and some of us are bad at it. It really all depends on if you were shown how to pick a proper password for your computer system. The mass penetration of computers in our everyday lives is still a fairly new phenomenon and people are still learning how to use the machines safely. This is especially true when it comes to the internet. People who have not had the internet their whole lives still have problems with all of the security problems that the internet brings. Unless they work with it every day there are still going to be some things that elude them.

But if you contrast that with a similar piece of complicated technology that has been around for a long time, it would be a different story. For example I can use the car to illustrate my point. For a majority of the people who are alive right now, cars have always been around. So even though someone may not have told you directly how to secure a car, you probably already have at least a clue. You have seen on TV, or maybe even in real life, how people steal cars and what you can do to prevent it. Without anyone telling you, you would know how to lock the doors and maybe even set the alarms. With computers it is a different story. You do not the many different ways that your system can be compromised so you do not know how to protect yourself. In this article I hope to show you a simple but very effective way to protect the data that is on your computer. By following my lead, your data will be a lot safer than it was before.

staying safe with passphrases

staying safe with passphrases

What is the difference between a password and a passphrase?

You may be looking at the title of the article right now and wondering to yourself what exactly a passphrase is. More than likely you have heard of a password but may not have heard of a passphrase. While the two are very similar there is a slight but very noticeable difference. A password is just a simple word that you use to help secure a login. You type a username, which most people can see, and a password, which only you know, and you should be secured. With a passphrase you are using several words instead of a single word. The sentence that you use will make sense to you.

So why should you use a passphrase?

There are two very good reasons why you should use a passphrase. The first reason and probably the most important reason is that they are inherently more secured than a normal password. When you are making a password you want to use as many characters as possible. The larger the character amount, the harder it is for a bad guy to get in the account. While some black hat hackers will try to guess a password others will use software to try and crack the password. The password cracking software runs through several words, words with numbers, and even combination of words to try and get the password. If you have a one word password they are eventually going to get it. With a passphrase, you will have so many possible combinations that the computer will have to try that it would just take too long. Since most attacks are coming from a normal desktop computer, they would not have the horse power to pull it off.

The second reason you would want to use a passphrase is that it is easy to remember. If you try to use a long password to help make your login more secure, it is going to be hard for you to remember. It might be so long that you write it down somewhere. This is going to leave you vulnerable. With a passphrase, you still get the benefits of a long password but it is something that you can easily remember. For example, to get a normal long password you would typically type in something like ‘modahj23ss’. While that might be effective it is hard to remember and might not be long enough. This passphrase is a lot easier to remember ‘going to 23 stores tomorrow’. As you can see, this is easier to remember and it is also longer so it will be harder to crack. Also it has both digits and letters making it even harder to crack.

Making your password or passphrase hard for the bad guys to get is very important. Whenever you put your personal data on the internet you should be sure that it is secure. You should not be the weak link in that security system by using a bad password. Using a passphrase should help alleviate that problem.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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  1. […] it out. So what do you do with so many rules to this problem? The popular way these days is to use passphrases.What is a passphrase?The question that you might ask yourself right now is what is a passphrase? […]

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