What makes passphrases significantly more secure compared to passwords?
Were you aware that the 1st Thursday of May is designated as "National Password Day"? We weren't until we embarked on drafting this article! Passwords, akin to death and taxes, are an inevitable part of our lives.
It's likely that you've recently crafted a new password, be it for a fresh online shopping portal, a isso wadey loyalty program, or a new professional account. With the increasing digitization, the number of passwords we need to manage continues to rise.
To address this challenge, consider adopting passphrases instead. What exactly are they? We'll delve into everything you need to comprehend about passphrases, along with elucidating why they surpass traditional passwords.
So what is passphrase?
A passphrase is a sequence of words or other text used to gain access to a system, program, or account. It's similar to a password but typically longer and may contain spaces or special characters. Passphrases are often used for enhanced security because they are generally longer and more complex than traditional passwords, making them harder for attackers to guess or crack using automated methods.
Length > Complexity
The notion that a complex password like "SrI_L@NK4!" is more secure than a straightforward phrase such as "monkey-cry-vanish-colombo" might seem intuitive, but it's incorrect.
As per cybersecurity specialists at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation: "Simple passwords, even with special characters, are easier targets for cracking. Password length holds greater significance than complexity. Opt for passphrases comprising multiple words and extending beyond 15 characters instead of short, intricate passwords."
Passphrases are easy
Passphrases offer greater memorability compared to traditional passwords. A typical robust password, such as "P@ssw0rd123!", consists of random special characters, numbers replacingletters, and capitalization, making it challenging to recall. Consequently, individuals often resort to jotting them down on paper or storing them on their phones, which can jeopardize security.
Moreover, when prompted by computer systems to change their passwords periodically, most individuals make superficial alterations, like transitioning from "password1" to "password2".
In contrast, passphrases comprise random words, such as "Crow banana space huge," which can be easier to remember. Imagine a scenario where a bird, made of carrots, is painting an enormous portrait—it's an absurd image that sticks in the memory. The more nonsensical and imaginative the phrase, the simpler it becomes to retain.
Furthermore, when it's time to update a passphrase, one can simply unleash their creativity and devise a new phrase.
Experiment with generating a few passphrases for yourself. Remember, it's crucial that the words appear unrelated to anyone but you. For instance, "My little beautiful donkey" would not qualify as a strong passphrase.
Systems like longer passcodes
Historically, numerous systems imposed a limit of approximately 15 characters on accepted passcodes, posing challenges for users intending to utilize passphrases.
However, this scenario has evolved with the growing emphasis on cybersecurity. The majority of prominent operating systems now permit an impressive 127 characters!
Presently, many systems also mandate a blend of lowercase and uppercase letters, numerals, and special characters. These components can be seamlessly integrated into the passphrase you have in mind.
Passphrase Tips for Enhanced Security
If there's one section of this article to remember, let it be this.
- Strengthen your security by incorporating more words into your passphrase.
- Opt for memorable yet nonsensical combinations of words, avoiding well-known song lyrics or famous quotes. Inside jokes work well. For instance, recall the amusing incident at Majestic City Mall where your brother had carrot strand stuck to his teeth while eating nasi-goreng? "MC-brother-nasi-teeth" serves as an excellent example.
- Employ patterns to aid in recalling different passphrases for various accounts, such as incorporating specific letters from the website or service into segments of your passphrase.
- If you find it necessary to record your passphrase, ensure they're stored securely in a locked safe or a password-protected document.
Maintaining Robust Defenses
A primary culprit behind cybersecurity breaches often stems from weak passwords. Fortunately, this vulnerability is also one of the simplest to address.
Given the escalating frequency of cyber-attacks both locally in Sri Lanka and globally, prioritizing a strong passphrase is imperative.
When establishing your next account, consider opting for a passphrase instead—it could make all the difference!
Maybe its time for us to rethink our password habits!