Cover image for Take Control of Your Passwords

Book description

Overcome password frustration with Joe Kissell's expert advice!

Updated May 28, 2013

Improve your passwords without losing your cool, thanks to Joe Kissell's expert advice. Start on the path to modern password security by watching Joe's intro video and by checking out our "Joe of Tech" comic.

Read the book to understand the problems and apply a real-world strategy that includes choosing a password manager, auditing your existing passwords, and dealing with situations where automated tools can't help.

Teach This Book! Once you're satisfied with your own password strategy, you may want to help friends or colleagues improve theirs. To that end, Take Control of Your Passwords includes links to a downloadable one-page PDF handout and to a PDF-based slide deck that you can show on any computer or mobile device screen.

"Awesome. You did an amazing job breaking it down. This should be mandatory reading." --Rich Mogull, CEO at Securosis

This ebook helps you overcome frustrations that arise when attempting to design a strategy for dealing with the following password problems:

  • 9-character passwords with upper- and lowercase letters, digits, and punctuation are NOT strong enough.

  • You CANNOT turn a so-so password into a great one by tacking a punctuation character and number on the end.

  • It is NOT safe to use the same password everywhere, even if it's a great password.

  • A password is NOT immune to automated cracking because there's a delay between login attempts.

  • Even if you're an ordinary person without valuable data, your account may STILL be hacked, causing you problems.

  • You can NOT manually devise "random" passwords that will defeat potential attackers.

  • Just because a password doesn't appear in a dictionary, that does NOT necessarily mean that it's adequate.

  • It is NOT a smart idea to change your passwords every month.

  • Truthfully answering security questions like "What is your mother's maiden name?" does NOT keep your data more secure.

  • Adding a character to a 10-character password does NOT make it 10 percent stronger.

  • Easy-to-remember passwords like "correct horse battery staple" will NOT solve all your password problems.

  • All password managers are NOT pretty much the same.

  • Your passwords will NOT be safest if you never write them down and keep them only in your head.

"Joe handles a confusing and scary subject more clearly and calmly than I would have thought possible. I'll be recommending this book to just about everybody I know." --William Porter, database developer, author, photographer

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Read Me First
  4. Introduction
  5. Passwords Quick Start
  6. Understand the Problems with Passwords
  7. Learn about Password Security
  8. Apply Joe’s Password Strategy
  9. Choose a Password Manager
  10. Keep Your Passwords Secure
  11. Audit Your Passwords
  12. Appendix A: Use Two-factor Authentication
  13. Appendix B: Help Your Uncle with His Passwords
  14. Teach This Book
  15. About This Book
  16. Copyright and Fine Print
  17. Featured Titles