Archive for the ‘passwords’ Category

Techie Tip of the Week: Use 2-Step Authentication for Extra Security

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Hackers, identity thieves, and other nefarious folk are constantly trying to gain access to your information. Although having a good password is a great idea and is important to protecting your information, using 2-step authentication really makes it quite difficult for others to obtain your data.

Two-step authentication (also known as 2-step verification or 2-factor authentication) uses two types of authentication to verify your identity: your password and an authentication code. In order for a thief to steal your data, they would need to know not only your password, but also have access to the the code (which can be set to change every 30-60 seconds).

Google has been allowing people to use two-step verification for a while now. And now, it’s available at Stanford.
Two-step authentication is required to access Stanford systems that have higher than normal levels of security, such as critical business or infrastructure systems. In addition, two-step authentication can help protect your Stanford account should someone other than you learn your password.

To learn more about two-step authentication, go to https://itservices.stanford.edu/service/webauth/twostep

To enable two-step authentication:

  1. Go to http://accounts.stanford.edu
  2. Click Manage.
  3. Click Two-Step Auth.
  4. Click Enable and follow the on-screen instructions.

Then, to use two-step authentication:

  1. Visit the protected site.
  2. At the SUNet ID login screen, enter your SUNet ID and password, as always.
  3. If you are using Google Authenticator, launch it and enter the Google Authenticator code.
    If you are using Text Messaging, enter the code that comes with the text message.
    If you are using the Printed List method, enter one of the codes (each code can be used once).

Techie Tip of the Week: Password Protect Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Documents

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Did you know that you can restrict access to or prevent unauthorized users from modifying a PDF file using passwords?

To add password security to a PDF file:

  1. On the Advanced menu, point to Security, and then click Password Encrypt.screenshot of advanced>security
  2. Confirm that you wish to change security settings by clicking Yes.
  3. Enter the security settings, and then click OK.
    screenshot of confirm security settings

  4. Confirm your password and then click OK.
  5. To finalize the security settings, save the PDF.

Techie Tip of the Week: Require a Password to Open MS Office Documents

Friday, October 28th, 2011

By adding password protection to an MS Office document, you will help prevent people from gaining access the document unless they knows the password. Don’t lose the password — if you misplace or forget it, YOU  will be unable to open the file!

To make an MS Office document password protected:

  1. Open the file.
  2. In Office 2003, on the Tools menu, point to Options, and then click Security.
    In Office 2007, click the Office button, then click Prepare, and then click Encrypt Document.
    In Office 2010, click the File button, then click Info, then click Protect Document, and then click Encrypt Document.
    In Office 2004, on the File menu, click Save As, then click Options, and then Security.
    In Office 2008 or Office 2011, on the File menu, click Save As, then click Options, click Show All, and then Security.
  3. In the Password to open dialog box, enter a password, and then click OK.
  4. In the Reenter password to open dialog box, enter the password again, and then click OK.

Techie Tip of the Week: Pick a Good Password

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Setting a good password is critical to ensuring computer security.

Here are some tips for creating a good password:

  1. Longer is better — at least 9 characters.
  2. Remove all the vowels from a short phrase (e.g., llctsrgry — “All cats are gray”)
  3. Use an acronym: choose the first or second letter of your favorite quotation (e.g, itsotfitd — “It’s the size of the fight in the dog”)
  4. Mix letters and non-letters in your passwords. (Non-letters include numbers and all punctuation characters on the keyboard.)
  5. Transform a phrase by using numbers or punctuation (e.g., UR1drful — you are wonderful).
  6. Consider using a phrase instead of a word. Pass phrases are sentences or parts of a sentence, and, as such, tend to be easier to remember than passwords. When picking a pass phrase, try to have the phrase be at least 15 characters in length. The reason pass phrases work (and, in fact, are better than passwords) is that the increased length provides so many possible permutations that password-cracking programs have greater difficulty in cracking the code.
    • Decent password: tgT!b8tu  (stands for the good, the bad, and the ugly, with some alternating uppercase and lowercase letters and substituting numerals and punctuation for letters or spaces)
    • Better pass phrase: The good, the bad, and the ugly is my number 1 favorite movie of all time because of the acting, the themes involved, and the plot.
    • Even better pass phrase (substituting ‘zero’ for ‘o’): The G00d, the Bad, & the Ugly is my #1 fav0rite m0vie 0f all time because 0f the acting, the themes inv0lved, and the pl0t.

More tips like these can be found at https://itservices.stanford.edu/service/unixcomputing/unix/passwords