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  Help in the Struggle for Strong Passwords
Location: BlogsWizard Wisdom    
Posted by: David Gray 12/19/2006
This article discusses two new tools that recently became available, to help you create really strong passwords.

Passwords play a key role in present day security, and probably always will. Recently, I became aware of two tools that can help you create and use strong passwords.

Perfect Passwords

The first to come to my attention was Perfect Passwords, an on-line tool created by long time computer hardware wizard, Steve Gibson. Steve's Perfect Passwords tool is a secure Web page, which runs over SSL, the same facility that keeps your credit card number secure when you order from Amazon. The page, at https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm,, returns a completely random set of long keys, suitable for use with a variety of wireless access points.

Although intended primarily to help you secure your wireless network, you can adapt the keys for many other uses.

Microsoft Password Checker

Another nifty new tool is the Microsoft Password Checker, at https://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/privacy/password_checker.mspx. Like Steve Gibson's Perfect Passwords page, this one runs over SSL. Since the password checker uses a JavaScript function to do the checking, your password never leaves the confines of your own machine. Running the page under SSL makes it easy to prevent the contents, including the password, from being cached on your local hard disk.

Caution: Be aware that the password strength information is for personal reference only. Password Checker does not guarantee the security of the password itself. Remember, too, that the strongest password in the world is worthless if you keep a copy of it in a place where it can easily fall into the wrong hands.

Copyright ©2006 David Gray
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  About David Gray   
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David Gray is Founder and Chief Wizard of WizardWrx. Beginning in 1985, David has created imaginative solutions to problems for businesses around the world. With numerous programming languages and technologies at his disposal, his applications stretch the limits of what many people think is possible.

David brings to his projects a wealth of experience in accounting, business and process management, system architecture, and programming.

David has led or founded a number of user groups over the last 21 years, including the Metroplex Access Developers, which he founded in 1995. He has spoken before user groups, both in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and in other cities around the US, about numerous topics, ranging from the fundamentals of good report design to very esoteric topics, such as the design and programming of custom text parsers.

As a member of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, David was one of the founding members of its Ambassadors program, which helps welcome new businesses to the Irving, Texas area, and participates in other Chamber events, to help make visitors feel welcome and included.

Until serious illness forced him to curtail his activities in the last few years, David was also active in other community service organizations, including the Irving Sunrise Rotary Club, Irving Cares, Inc., the Irving Hospital Foundation, and the Irving Police Foundation. Now that his health has improved, David looks forward to finding new ways to resume some involvement in his community.

When he isn’t working, David and his wife, Janet, enjoy a variety of activities, including cooking, good music, both recorded and live, and chasing sunsets and rainbows. David enjoys reading good science fiction, by which he means stories that are more than just cowboys and Indians set in space or in the distant future.

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