Along with birthdays, names of pets and ascending number sequences, add one more thing to the list of password no-nos: good grammar. An algorithm developed by Ashwini Rao and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, makes light work of cracking long passwords which make grammatical sense as a whole phrase, even if they are interspersed with numbers and symbols. Rao’s algorithm makes guesses by combining words and phrases from password-cracking databases into grammatically correct phrases. While other cracking programs make multiple guesses based on each word in a database, putting in “catscats” and “catsstac” as well as just the word “cats”, none of the programs make the jump to combine multiple words or phrases in a way that makes grammatical sense, like “Ihave3cats”, for instance.
Good Passwords: Aided by Poor Grammar
Author: Shelly Palmer
Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, Shelly Palmer Digital Living Daily, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards).