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Neil Barrett

The Fox And The Lion

Top tips for secure passwords ...

Posted on: 16/08/2012   By: Neil Barrett

The moral for today is that ''familiarity breeds contempt''. So in this blog I thought I would bring your attention to a security story which hit the news recently about passwords, an area that I often find people can get very lax about ...

are your passwords as secure as a fox's den?

are your passwords as secure as a fox's den?

Most of you will have heard of dropbox and I imagine almost as many of you will be using it. It's a fabulously easy-to-use, cloud-based, file storage/sharing service. Well a few weeks ago it suffered a security breach but not because the software and hardware at dropbox are inadequate but simply because a dropbox employee used the same password they used on the dropbox corporate network on another website which was subsequently hacked.

This does highlight an interesting but not uncommon dilemma. Those of us who do have reasonably secure passwords probably use that same password for access to several websites and/or other systems. It's much easier to have just one to remember isn't it.

For those of you who aren't yet in the habit of setting secure passwords, it's about time you did. No longer is "[insert child/pet/spouse's name here]123" sufficient! Cyber criminals use sophisticated tools that can rapidly decipher passwords. They should be over 8 characters in length, a mixture of numbers, upper and lowercase letters and special characters.

Avoid creating passwords that use:

  • Dictionary words in any language

  • Words spelled backwards, common misspellings, and abbreviations

  • Sequences or repeated characters. E.g.: 12345678, 222222, abcdefg, or adjacent letters on your keyboard (qwerty)

  • Personal information. Your name, birthday, spouse's name, pet's name, or similar information

If you want to check whether your password is secure you can enter it here. If you are having trouble creating secure passwords you could try one of the many password generator sites like this one.

The ideal solution is that you have a different secure password for every system you access but how do you manage all that different information? Well there are several good free Password Managers on the market which can help. The one I personally use is called keepass. Easy to setup and install and works just as well on my Macbook and iPad as it does on my Windows machine.

Check out the video link above to hear the story of The Fox and The Lion from which the moral "familiarity breeds contempt" comes from and to hear The Office Genie's moral. For a testimonial on Neil's services call The Office Genie on +44 (0) 845 901 1803 or to talk to Neil about using his services call +44 (0) 1327 300311.

Until next time ...


More about Neil Barrett ...


I have always worked in the IT industry both for in-house IT departments and outsourcing companies. My first position was for a large managed services provider in Coventry, based full-time on a customer site in Northamptonshire. It was during this assignment I was exposed for the first time to the UNIX & Linux operating systems which I still enjoy looking after today. By the time I left there I was running the Department and went on to head up the IT department of the distribution arm of a manufacturing company on the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border.

Although the position was well paid and had great benefits, it wasnt particularly challenging and that's when I set up my own business. Keba was born. It was about nine months later in the summer of 2002 that that I decided to do it full-time and never looked back.


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