- Paperback: 182 pages
- Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (December 25, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1597490415
- ISBN-13: 978-1597490412
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,490,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Perfect Passwords: Selection, Protection, Authentication 1st Edition
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User passwords are the keys to the network kingdom, yet most users choose overly simplistic passwords (like password) that anyone could guess, while system administrators demand impossible to remember passwords littered with obscure characters and random numerals.
Every computer user must face the problems of password security. According to a recent British study, passwords are usually obvious: around 50 percent of computer users select passwords based on names of a family member, spouse, partner, or a pet. Many users face the problem of selecting strong passwords that meet corporate security requirements. Too often, systems reject user-selected passwords because they are not long enough or otherwise do not meet complexity requirements. This book teaches users how to select passwords that always meet complexity requirements.
A typical computer user must remember dozens of passwords and they are told to make them all unique and never write them down. For most users, the solution is easy passwords that follow simple patterns. This book teaches users how to select strong passwords they can easily remember.
* Examines the password problem from the perspective of the administrator trying to secure their network
* Author Mark Burnett has accumulated and analyzed over 1,000,000 user passwords and through his research has discovered what works, what doesn't work, and how many people probably have dogs named Spot
* Throughout the book, Burnett sprinkles interesting and humorous password ranging from the Top 20 dog names to the number of references to the King James Bible in passwords
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Top customer reviews
There are LOTS and LOTS of tips and tricks in this book for forming long, memorable, and hard-to-crack passwords. But if all you're interested in is the Meat and Potatoes, I can shortcut the matter and give it to you here: "The Perfect Password" has eight (8) elements to it:
1. It has UPPERCASE letters (ABC...).
2. It has lowercase letters (def...).
3. It has numbers (123...).
4. It has spaces (" ").
5. It has punctuation (.,:;-!? and the like, usually used in sentences).
6. It has symbols (@&+=>$#*^~ and the like, usually NOT used in sentences).
7. It has respelling (i.e., no words that can be found in a
dictionary -- for example, using "kwean", and not "queen").
8. It has more than 15 characters, and the more the better.
That's it, Jack! If you can easily come up, on the spur of the moment, with a passphrase or password which meets ALL of these criteria, AND which is easy to remember... then YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK, you've already got it made!
Otherwise, the aforementioned Tips & Tricks will come in very very handy. And not only that, it's (surprisingly!) entertaining, too -- like the annectdote about the author's 5-year-old son, whose password was:
(Shux, his son liked the letter "o", and he could count to the minimum password length of 15, so that's what the lil' kidlet tyke used, LOL!)
For those with Kindles, a Kindle version of this book is available: Click Here.
Buy this book. Please trust me, you won't be sorry. :)
This comment is directed at Amazon itself: Your product title (e.g., in the "This review is from" line) says "Perfect Password", but if you look at the book cover image itself, you can clearly see that the title actually is "Perfect Passwords" (plural on "passwords"). It irks me every time I see this discrepancy.
This is a short book, but it's amazingly complete on the subject. I don't agree 100% with all of the policy advice he gives, but it's fascinating to read the real-life password analyses he's done. If you are just someone who wants to pick better passwords for yourself, you *might* like this book. If you are an admin trying to figure out a sensible password policy for your bailiwick, I *strongly recommend* this book to you. It won't take you long to read it, and you are almost certainly going to get some insights even if you are pretty experienced already. (I am, and I did.)
I'm glad I bought it, and I'm glad I read it.
The book is unique because the author bases many of his recommendations on research, not theory. He says that over the course of his consulting career he has collected somewhere between 3 and 4 million passwords. (This seems somewhat suspicious, but I suppose dropping the usernames would make that practice acceptable.) By performing statistical analysis on those millions of real passwords, the author knows exactly what makes a bad password.
Perfect Passwords does a good job dispelling common password policy myths. I was glad to hear him report that changing passwords once a month is a stupid idea. A weak password is not "protected" by a monthly change, since it can be broken in a matter of hours. Instead, use 15 or more characters in passwords, and change them less frequently (perhaps every 6 or 12 months, depending on sensitivity).
The author also rightfully criticizes "secret questions" and stand-alone biometrics. Both systems suffer an important flaw: "the answer to the question is usually a fact that will never change," like the make of your first car or your fingerprint. If secret questions must be used, add a three-digit code to the answer. With biometrics, always accompany them with a password.
I had no major problems with Perfect Passwords. I did think that 21 pages of words in Appendix B and 16 pages of numbers in Appendix C didn't serve any real purpose. I thought the hand-drawn figures seemed really weak in places (Figure 3.1 is a lawn sprinkler?). One mathematical note -- pp 43-44 discuss combinations vs permutations. With permutations, it's important to note whether a number can be selected repeatedly, or only once. With a lottery (the book's example), numbers are usually selected once. So, the permutations for a three digit lottery yield 10 * 9 * 8 = 720 possibilities, not 1000.
Overall I liked Perfect Passwords. This is a great addition to any security professional's library, and it contains many sound suggestions.