Hey journalists (and others): here’s a simple way to generate passwords to make it harder for hackers to break

It’s simple. Go to a Starbucks. Pick up one of those cards that has free apps/movie/song of the day. On the back is a code. Use that as your password. Keep the code in your wallet. Do this on a frequent basis.

Want to make it more secure? Add numbers and punctuation to the beginning or the end.

Worried the code isn’t random enough? Type it in backwards or add punctuation and random characters in the middle (e.g. after the first three characters).

For example, here is the code on the card I have: A63RKXMEWWJ6. (No, it is not used on any of my passwords.)

If I go to a site like this, How Secure Is My Password?, and type it in, it tells me it will take 37 years to break it using a PC. If I add !123 to the end of that, it will take essentially forever to break it (16 billion years).These times are based on using a PC to break it. But even if the hackers had an enterprise class computer, it will still take a long long time. Furthermore, if you change your password very often, you will make it next very difficult to hack your password the way the passwords were hacked at the New York Times.

There are ways to get your password that doesn’t requiring stealing and cracking the password database. But you can practically eliminate this way if you take this approach.

 

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