Oct28

Ever Tried A Binary Poem Password?

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

Take a look at the latest safe password method to help keep your information safe.

How safe is your password? If it is under 20 characters you can bet that it’s not too safe at all. Hacking scandals of late have shown the world how unsafe our password habits truly are; even lengthy passwords can hacked by a password cracker in just a few minutes.

If you happen to use two-factor authentication – and we enthusiastically recommend you do – then your information is much safer than just having a password in place. Your casual use accounts such as movie and music subscription services don’t necessarily need cast-iron passwords, but email and banking accounts with weak passwords are in real danger from hackers, spammers and bots.

How to protect yourself:

A recent article in Quartz explains the password conundrum: if your password is too complicated you are likely to forget it, but if it is easily memorable then it is easy to crack. What to do?   

Two computational linguists, Marjan Ghazviniejad and Kevin Knight, from the University of Southern California, have a solution. They have created a method for passwords which are both easy-to-remember and hard-to-crack with an automatic password generator which creates unique passwords from rhyming poetry stanzas.   

Alphanumerics with a few additional letters and symbols can still be easy for hackers to crack. For example, PA55W0rd123 is a terrible password and can easily be broken through. Phrases, on the other hand, can be easy to remember and hard to crack. Check out this xkd comic for an easy explanation.    

According to Quartz, “The USC linguists experimented with three different solutions to this problem. All aimed to turn a list of 60 random 1s and 0s—representing “60 bits of entropy” in the jargon—into memorable English.”

By changing the available characters to either a 1 or a 0, the poem generator established a basic outline for creating passwords. The only problem was that the original sentences were long and difficult to remember. To learn about the entire process take a look at the linguist’s whitepaper.  

After a few attempts the duo decided on a “Poetry Method” that would create 2 eight-syllable rhyming lines. Ghazviniejad and Knight write: “In ancient times, people recorded long, historical epics using poetry, to enhance memorability. We follow this idea by turning each system-assigned 60-bit string into a short, distinct English poem.”.

The results look something like this: The first binary code is the randomly generated code that is then represented by the poetic password below.  

010100000010000011011011100111001111111111111000101000100110

Example many polio / Charlene McCarthy Rodeo

101001011010011100100010010001011101000001011101111111000001

The gunman splendid dignified / the scripture lessons nationwide

100010001001000101010110010110000001101011110000101110101110

Among Republican giraffe / promoter bishops autograph

While the phrases might not be prize-winning poetry, they will work wonders at keeping hackers out of your personal information. Not all secure sites will allow 60-character passwords, but they should. In these cases be sure that you have protected yourself with two-factor authentication whenever possible.

The next wave of security might eliminate the password all together, but until then we will just have to make use of some iambic tetrameter rhymes as our major defense.

To learn more about security and how you can best protect your information visit Midphase.com

This article was brought to you by Midphase, for shared hosting, cloud servers and 24/7 support visit our site here www.midphase.com

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