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Data Privacy Day 2013 – Passwords

Something everyone can do for Data Privacy Day:  make it a point to change at least one password and make it “long and strong.”

Here are some tips for building strong passwords from David Sherry, Chief Information Security Officer at Brown University:

To create a strong password, you should use a string of text that mixes numbers, letters that are both lowercase and uppercase, and special characters. Best practice says it should be eight characters, but the more the better. The characters should be random, and not follow from words, alphabetically, or from your keyboard layout.

So how do you make such a password?

Spell something backwards. Example: Turn “New York” into “ kroywen ”

Use “l33t speak”: Substitute numbers for certain letters.  Example: Turn “kroywen” into kr0yw3n

Randomly throw in some capital letters.  Example: Turn “kr0yw3n” into Kr0yW3n

Don’t forget the special character.  Example: Turn “Kr0yW3n” into       !Kr0y-W3n$

So, you say you can’t remember “complex” passwords…

One suggestion: create one, very strong, password and “append” it with an identifier:






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About this Author

Cynthia Larose, Privacy, Security, Attorney, Mintz Levin, Law Firm, electronic transactions lawyer

Cynthia is Chair of the firm’s Privacy & Security Practice and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP).  She represents companies in information, communications, and technology, including e-commerce and other electronic transactions. She counsels clients through all stages of the “corporate lifecycle,” from start-ups through mid- and later-stage financings to IPO, and has broad experience in technology and business law, including online contracting issues, licensing, domain name issues, software development, and complex outsourcing transactions.

Cynthia has extensive...