WJTV News Channel 12 - USF Cybersecurity experts offer advice for strong passwords

USF Cybersecurity experts offer advice for strong passwords

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Do you ever change your passwords? How long are they and do you think they are hacker-proof?

Hackers are now using password-cracking software and weak passwords are their target.

Sri Sridharan is the Managing Director of Cybersecurity at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He knows a lot about passwords.

Sridharan says "passwrd" is the most common password that people use. Short, of course, for the word password.

"Next is 1-2-3-4-5-6 and guess where they find your passwords most of the time? Sticky pads on your monitor or under your keyboard," says Sridharan.

He says strong passwords and keeping them safe are a must. Experts say your passwords should not contain your spouse's name, your kids' names, a hobby or a simple pattern. That information is too easy for hackers to guess. Personal information is often publicly available.

Jeremy Rasmussen is a Cybersecurity Professor at USF. He knows what hackers can do, because he can do it too. He can't stress the importance of strong passwords enough.

"I personally use at least a 12 character password with a combination of upper and lower case numbers and special characters. I do not use the same password for any two systems," says Rasmussen.

The strongest passwords are long. They contain a mix of numbers, both lower case and upper case numbers and special characters. You should also try not to use words found in the dictionary. Random passwords are better.

When it comes to creating passwords here are some tricks-

  • Spell words backwards. For example, New York would become kroYweN.
  • Substitute numbers for letters, like using a zero to replace an "O".
  • Randomly throw in some capital letters or try using an acronym for a phrase that's easy for you to remember. Fridays are my favorite day of the week would become "famfdotw."

Sridharan sums it up this way. "It's better to be pro active than reactive."

Here are a couple websites that can help you pick passwords:


Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:15:59 GMT
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
  • Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:01:38 GMT
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
  • Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 8:16 AM EDT2014-08-26 12:16:28 GMT
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Tanker overturns on I-75, spills gas, closes lanes for hours

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:04 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:04:44 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road are blocked since Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 between Bee Ridge Road and Fruitville Road are blocked since Wednesday morning after an accident involving a tanker.
  • School officials to explain new Florida Standards

    School officials to explain new Florida Standards

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:13 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:13:59 GMT
    The majority of state's now use Common Core, a learning system that demands the same basics for every student. This school year, Florida is rolling out it's own tweaked version called the Florida Standards.
    The majority of state's now use Common Core, a learning system that demands the same basics for every student. This school year, Florida is rolling out it's own tweaked version called the Florida Standards.
  • Duke Energy to announce changes

    Duke Energy to announce changes

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:02 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:02:58 GMT
    Jolted by customers fed up with Duke's rollout of a plan to avoid duplicating meter reader routes, it appears the utility is ready to throw in the towel. Wednesday morning, we expect the company to announce changes that could include bill credits.
    Jolted by customers fed up with Duke's rollout of a plan to avoid duplicating meter reader routes, it appears the utility is ready to throw in the towel. Wednesday morning, we expect the company to announce changes that could include bill credits.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.