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Powerful Passwords

Creating secure passwords help keep your accounts safe from hackers.

Strong passwords can help keep computers secure. Members will learn why passwords are important, what makes a password safe and what types of passwords can be easily hacked

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Computer
WiFiInternet
WiredInternet
WhiteBoard
 

STEP 1
TIME: 5 MINUTES

Why do we have computer passwords?

Why bother with passwords? They keep our information safe. But, did you know that most of us have really bad password practices? That most people re-use passwords across the Internet? Why might that be bad?

Hackers can take advantage of your password if it’s common, or if it’s re-used on multiple sites. Check out these weak passwords: https://www.teamsid.com/worst-passwords-2016/

Hope you’re not using one of them!

Ask members what they think about computer passwords. Why do computers and accounts have them? What do they think passwords are for?

After members have read the list, discuss the words and why they aren't ideal passwords.

Ask members what they find strange about the passwords on the list. What do they think makes these passwords weak?

Ask them to raise their hands if they can answer "Yes" to the following questions:
Have you ever used a real word for your password?
Can your password be found in a dictionary in any language?
Have you ever re-used the same password on different websites?

For the members who raised their hands “yes,” explain that weak passwords increase their risk of someone hacking into their accounts, stealing their personal information and possibly even their identities.

Tell the members who did not raise their hands that their passwords are probably safe.


STEP 2
TIME: 10 MINUTES

Testing passwords for security

Go check out your password, or sample passwords, at https://howsecureismypassword.net/. What seems to make a password “strong” or “weak”? Try lots of things. What seems to yield the winning combination?
If members have their own computers, ask them to launch https://howsecureismypassword.net/. Ask them to test a few passwords in the password text box. Explain why the Web page changes color depending on the strength or weakness of the password they enter.

After a few minutes of playing around with the password security gauge, ask them what they learned. Under what conditions does the website indicate a password is weak? Strong? Have them describe the characteristics of both a weak and strong password.

Password tips:

Use a different password for each site you use. Or use a unique password specific to those sites with the most important information.
Don’t use a word that can be found in the dictionary.
Create passwords with at least eight characters.
Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
Use upper case and lower case characters.

Record their findings on the board. If you feel comfortable, help them synthesize their findings into actionable steps everyone can follow. For example: Make the password long to make it safe. Don’t use a real word when making a strong password.

What are some ways members can create and remember "strong" passwords?
Use the acronym of a memorable sentence. For example, the password MbcDlf! is short for "My big cat Dan likes fish!"
Or use a strange word like "ArtfulSandwichYum!"

Try coming up with a few examples with members.

STEP 3
TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

In 40 characters or less...

What advice would you give a friend who was about to create a password?  


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