Microsoft Gets Tough on Easy Passwords

26th May 2016 by in category IT Support Blog, Microsoft Windows tagged as , , , , , with 0 and 5

Microsoft set to kybosh hackable passwords

Passwords image by Evan Lorne

Not Good Enough: Microsoft isn’t standing for half-baked passwords like “123456”. Image by Evan Lorne (via Shutterstock).

When you check your emails or log in to a social networking site, remembering your password is half the battle. If your choice of password is “123456”, “password” or “starwars”, we at Tabard IT suggest you ought to change your memorable phrase to another one. Like now.

This week, Microsoft has waged war on hackers. According to Alex Weinert, the head of Microsoft’s Identity Protection Team, the software giant fends off attacks targeting 10 million accounts. In a bid to reduce this total, passwords with eight or fewer characters will no longer be considered. Obvious password names like “password” are most definitely out.

We at Tabard IT recommend…

  • Creating a memorable yet abstract password: the best ones are derived from a sentence distilled into mnemonic form. For example, “All I Want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit” could read “AIw4CiaDPak#” in password form.
  • Using a password manager: proprietary or open-source software for managing your passwords could be downloaded.
  • The use of two-factor authentication: an extra layer of security is advantageous.

If you’re one of the many people to have “password” as any of your passwords, we strongly recommend taking heed of the above recommendations.

Microsoft’s ‘get tough’ approach will apply to all of the company’s online services, such as Outlook accounts and Azure AD, its cloud directory service. Another part of the plan is a “smart password lockout” system. Instead of locking out access to your account, it only locks out potential hackers.

Microsoft’s latest approach came about after the passwords of 117 million LinkedIn accounts were compromised. Could our fellows from Redmond have the right idea? All may be revealed on this little blog of ours.

Tabard IT, 26 May 2016.

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