Since we are celebrating having a hard copy of the book in our hands and to get you excited as well, here is another excerpt!
Before you even start on a network we need to talk about passwords. Selecting a password is one of the most important and under-considered things you will do throughout this process. Most people use easy to remember people, pets, dates, objects, etc. Pet names are particularly popular and also happen to be one of the easiest passwords to crack. Anyone who knows you, anyone who can see your Facebook profile, anyone you meet can very easily find your password when you use such information. It can happen to anyone. It happened to Brian Dunn, the CEO of Best Buy. Dunn’s 5,000 followers, employees and customers all saw him tweet, “I’VE BEEN HAVING A LOT OF GREAT SEX LATELY AND HERE’S WHY…” followed by a link to what he assumes was a site selling performance enhancing drugs of a specific type. His password was stolen. Don’t let this happen to you.
There are a number of steps you can take to prevent someone from finding your password. The first is avoiding what the Department of Defense calls a “single guess” password. Any word that could be guessed by the hacker on the first guess should be avoided. Thus, anniversaries (can be found via public records), pet names (you’ll offer it) and family names (How often do you talk about your kids by name?) must all be avoided. Basically, the rule of thumb is to avoid any whole word that can be found in a dictionary along with names and dates. However, combining things from this list can yield an effective password. Combining a daughter’s name with her birth year, “Sasha1997,” is far and away a better password than either alone. It’s still not a great password, though, and can easily be compromised by a site that offers password reminders.
Adding length, symbols and numbers are the most effective ways to build a strong password. Microsoft recommends starting and ending a password with a symbol. I sometimes find it useful to convert numbers to their corresponding symbols on the keyboard. So, let’s add Sasha’s birth month and day onto this password, using the symbols associated with the numbers and see what happens. The 26th of May could be added at the beginning to make @^%Sasha1997 (265 for May 26 = Shift+265 = @^%).
Another favorite technique is to take a phrase and convert it to TXT speak. Not only is most of it completely incomprehensible to most adults, but when strung together it’s likely to lose all meaning. The website lingo2word.com offers a text to speech converter that can do most of the work for you. If your existing passwords don’t fit the bill, change them now. Even if you have an awesome password for your Facebook page, your account is still at risk if your email password is the street you live on. Why? Hackers can easily find your email password and not use it to send out email of their own. Instead, they sit on it, silently. They can read your email and find out all about you while requesting password reminders from all the other sites you interact with: bank account logins, social media, frequent flyer numbers, your gym schedule. The list is endless. Change your password.