For the past week, Escape the Wolf along with 1.2 billion other websites, were targeted by Russian hackers utilizing a massive “bot” attack. These bots aggressively attempted access to websites with username and password options. Fortunately, Escape the Wolf has very robust and secure servers preventing any harm to our infrastructure or members. So, a real quick lesson in hacker proof password development seems appropriate. Here are two simple rules to follow when developing hacker proof passwords.
1. Strong Usernames Increase the Strength of Passwords!
These days we feel our username should be our email address, part or portion of first and last names or something easy to remember like admin, user, student or combination of them all. Just because this has been the trend doesn’t mean you have to follow. Here’s the deal; our usernames are part of our security access system. The problem, USERNAME isn’t thought of as a critical security access code; instead, its thought to be more identification vice security, which is wrong. So, start thinking of USERNAME as a CODE NAME. Your email address is NOT a very good CODE NAME!
We recommend that your username never be associated to your personal information like first or last name, email address or phone number. Create usernames that feel more like a CODE NAME; here are some examples: BlackJack, SilentHammer, LandShark, NinjaSmoke. Be creative and develop usernames that are just as unique as your passwords.
2. Impenetrable Passwords with 40+ years of Resistance!
There are lots of tips on password development but heres worst case scenario planning… Let’s say a rogue Russian network of hackers decide to penetrate all your access points within the World Wide Web. They are armed with a super computer that can “brute force” access all your personal and financial information. A brute force attack can not be stopped BUT it can be delayed for 40 plus years with the right passwords. Most super computers can run every character on a keyboard 500 time a second, allowing it run thousands of combinations of characters per minute. So using a # or $ in your password doesn’t really make a difference when a computer is running all characters 500 time a second. Its not the complexity of a password that makes it hard to crack; its the length of the password. The more characters in a password, the longer it will take for a super computer to run through all the possible combinations of characters.
We recommend a 24 character or more password. Sounds crazy but here are some examples to decrease the stress of it all: HarleyDavidsonStarbucks!!!, FireEarthWindWater4Life!#!. Long passwords with a combination of uppercase and special characters increases possible combinations exponentially, therefore taking a super computer upwards to 40 years to run all possible combinations.
Bottom line, strong usernames combined with long passwords will increase the security of your online life exponentially. Remember, your username is part of your security access system – your username and password work hand in hand to keep the bad guys out!
Clinton Emerson, founder of Escape the Wolf. Escape the Wolf bridges the gap between crisis and the unknown with preemptive personal security solutions. We empower you with security tactics and products that mitigate threats, decrease exposure to crisis, and increase survivability. We want you to be more confident, more aware, and ultimately more secure.