Tagged With passwords

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Video: On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, a long conversation with Edward Snowden wound up turning into advice on coming up with good passwords. The upshot? Passwords of eight characters or less are basically crackable in seconds. And the best password that Snowden could come up with was MargaretThatcherIs100%SEXY.

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The primary purpose of a password is to serve as an unique verification identifier for a given user. Ideally, the password for a given website or service should be both random and unique; if the letters and/or numbers in the password follow any patterns, then they might be easier to guess by an intruder. For example, someone may put their birth year such as "1987" or "1988" in their password, which makes the passwords easier to remember, but consequently easier to break.

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If you've ever worked in an office with someone who types like a jackhammer, it's obvious we all type a little differently. Now scientists have created a prototype of a keyboard that can identify users by their unique typing patterns. It could point to a next generation of passwords that don't just take into account what you're typing, but how.

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Somebody just uploaded a password-hacking tool called iDict to GitHub that promises to use good old fashioned brute force techniques to crack iCloud passwords. The tool also claims to be able to evade Apple's rate-limiting and two-factor authentication security that's supposed to prevent brute force attacks. But it's not quite as bad as it sounds.

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The FIDO Alliance, whose members include everyone from Google to Samsung, just announced new password-free standards for regular and two-step authentication. In other words, the entire tech industry now has protocol for letting you sign into accounts without a password. Get ready for everything but typing out *****.

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By now, you probably think you know the drill when it comes to passwords: Avoid pet's names, mix up letters, change your password regularly, blah blah blah. We might think we're being clever, but according to State of the Net, the tricks we're using to make our passwords strong these days can actually make us more susceptible to hacks.

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Back in 2012, the FBI nabbed Jeremy Hammond, the most wanted cybercriminal in the country, at his home in Chicago. And until now no one had any idea how the feds actually managed to decrypt the hard drive they found there. Turns out it's pretty easy to break into a hacker's computer when your password is the name of your pet cat Chewy.