Privacy Week: 3 Reasons Why Your Passwords Are Bad and How to Fix Them

Many of us entrust companies that sell products online with our addresses, credit card numbers, and bank information. While the security on their end is dependent upon them, there are some things we can do to prevent malicious users from accessing our data. One of the most basic security devices we use on a daily basis is a password. A password is like the key to a door, the more complex it is the more difficult it is to enter unauthorized. Here are some common mistakes when it comes to creating passwords:

  1. It’s way too short!
    • 13+ characters at all times people. Do you know how long it takes to crack the 10 letter password “mynamejeff” in 2018? Roughly 3 months, if you change it to “mynamejeff2” the cracking time will jump to roughly 2 centuries. But just to be future proof you should go a bit further. Make it a 13-character password, “mynamejeff222”. Now it will take roughly 369 millennia to crack that bad boy!

black and white spinning clock hands

  1. You don’t test your passwords
    • There are plenty of sites online that will show you just how long it takes to crack your password. One such site is https://www.betterbuys.com/estimating-password-cracking-times/. You can see the estimated amount of time to crack your password as well as see how long it would of taken in 1992 for example.

Password strangeth bar going from fair to good to strong as more characters are typed.

  1. You use dictionary words
    • Sorry but even though the word skateboard has 10 letters, it will still be cracked in less than a second. Hackers check all words with meaning first before they start making random guesses. Lucky us there’s a way around this. Mix and match words! Sure, skateboard may be guessed instantly and so will turtle but a skateboard_turtle isn’t a real word and will take over 624 trillion years to crack.

tiny turtle on a tiny skateboard using his front legs to roll forward

For a more in depth look into strong passwords read on


By taking all of these factors into account you will be able to create some of the strongest passwords ever. Admittedly however, it can sometimes be hard to think up a good password. So next I’ll teach you tips on how to make your own easy to remember but hard to crack password. So with current technology passwords equal to or greater than 13 characters long are pretty much uncrackable. Meaning step one is to make sure whatever password you make is at least 13 characters long. Furthermore, it should be easy for you to remember. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is simply use sentences as passwords. Something like, “I really like Chinese food” or “this password is to hard to crack” are great examples. Unfortunately, due to the misconceptions of what makes a good password many sites have all sorts of hurdles you have to jump threw to make a valid password. Due to this it’s generally a good idea to make passwords that include at least 2 special characters, 2 numeric characters, and 2 alphabetic characters while avoiding using any 3 or more of the same character in a row. An easy way to accommodate this is to integrate these into your current password. For examples replacing “o” with “0”, “a” with “@”, “i” with “!”, or “space” with “_ “, to name a few. Just make sure whatever you substitute makes sense to you. Using this concept our last to example passwords might look like this, “!_re@11y_l!ke_ch!nese_f00d” and “th!s_p@ssw0rd_!s_h@rd_t0_cr@ck”.

If you take these steps into account next time you make a password than you can rest assured that the likeliness of it being cracked is slim to none. Plus, you’ll have the benefit of being able to easily remember your password therefore lowering the need to use some sort of password manager that would be devastating if in the wrong hands.

Learn more about your digital privacy:

ALA Choose Privacy Week

Privacy Paradox

Protect Your Privacy

Weapons of Math Destruction eBook | eAudiobook | Book

Meet the Team: Taliyah

Name: Taliyah

Major: Business Administration

Status: Senior

What is your favorite thing about being a student at UIS?  My favorite part of being a student at UIS is how open and nice the student body and staff is here. There are also lots of events here that teach us about our future plans and give us yummy snacks.

What are your goals for the semester? My goals this semester have been to be more attentive to my studies in order to obtain a 3.0 GPA or higher. I am also learning to create acrylic paintings and how to do acrylic and gel nails. 

If there were a reality TV show of your life, what would it be called? Why? If there were a reality show of my life it would probably be called “What Will Happen Next?” My days are never how I plan them, they are semi-structured but always spontaneous filled with countless adventures and experiences.

Are you involved in any clubs/activities/sports on campus? Or what are your hobbies?  I read and watch tutorials of paintings and how to to nails so that I may be able to self teach myself these future hobbies.

What have you learned since working at the library? I have learned how to give spot on customer service since working at the library. I have also learned how to communicate and consult with all different types of people from all walks of life. As well as being able to research properly and how to assist other with their research needs.

What are your post-graduation plans?  I plan to move to Tennessee or Texas and purchase a building to rent out and enjoy being job free for a while.

NLW! Need Research Help? Consultation Services

It’s National Library Week! Each day this week we are highlighting some of what Brookens offers to the UIS campus and community. So far we have covered our Popular Collections, Awesome Online Resources like Mango and cloudLibrary and the Library of Things! Today we are featuring our Consultation Services!

Do you have a paper due? Need sources?

Ask a librarian!

There are many ways you can connect with a librarian.

You can schedule an appointment:

https://uis.libwizard.com/contactalibrarian

You can stop by the main library desk and ask for a librarian.

You can look for a librarian at a pop-up desk. We’ll be setting up pop-up help desks in the library and elsewhere on campus to assist you with all of your library research needs. We will be easy to spot!

Please let us know what places, days, and times you’d like to see us pop-up and we’ll make it happen.
Contact Librarian Nancy Weichert at: nweic01s@uis.edu to set up a Consultation pop-up!

The librarians at Brookens Library are here to support you through the research process, from finding and evaluating sources to choosing and refining a topic. We’re here to help you succeed!

Extended Hours!!! December 4-8

We know you are busy preparing for the end of the semester. The week before finals, Brookens Library will be extending our operating hours by 3 hours each day Monday – Friday. We will be open from 8:30 am – 3:00 am Monday-Thursday (December 4-7) and from 8:30 am – 9:00 pm on Friday (December 8). We will also be providing coffee, bananas and other snacks late in the evening. Good luck and see you in the library!

Meet the Team: Kinsey

FIRST Name: Kinsey

Year in school: Senior

Major/Minor: Major – Criminal Justice, Minor- Psychology

Hometown: Woodstock, IL

Hobbies:  Reading, writing, working out, and watching Netflix

Post-college plans/What do you want to be when you grow up and why?

My current plans are to stay in Springfield and work with some of the many agencies here to build up my resume while I figure out my next steps. Within the next year or so I will likely enroll in a Master’s program for Social Work or Counseling with the eventual goal of being a school counselor or working with at-risk youth and crime victims.

 Who is the person that influences you or inspires you the most? Why?

I can’t think of any one specific person, but I would say that I am inspired every day by people who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there and achieve their goals. I think the most valuable trait a person can have is knowing who they are and being true to themselves. I aspire to be more like this and encourage everyone I know to do so.

What has working at Brookens Library taught you?

Working at Brookens has taught me the value of hard work and commitment. During my time at Brookens have put my all into every project assigned to me and, as a result, have gained valuable skills and experiences that will be useful to me in years to come. I have also had the pleasure of getting to know many great people who work hard every day so that the library can function at its best.  

 

Library Bill of Rights, Article lll

It’s National Library Week, April 9-15!

People often don’t know much about the work that libraries do, or that there is a Library Bill of Rights. That’s right, we have our own guiding principles that help determine how we serve our patrons and communities. We hope you learn a little big more of our library, our librarians and the Library Bill of Rights during National Library Week.

Throughout National Library Week, the Faculty at Brookens Library will be sharing a blog series expounding on each article of the Library Bill of Rights. Each of the 6 principles in the Library Bill of Rights broadly outlines an ideal that librarians support and upon which they model behavior, practice, and services. As with most ideals, pursuit of the tenets of the Library Bill of Rights is not an effortless task. Each of the points we’ll be discussing come with their own special challenges and obstacles. Today we are featuring Article lll.

Library Bill or Rights, Article lll.

Written by: Steven Ward, Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor/ Visiting User Services and Instructional Services Librarian

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

While all articles contained within in the library Bill of Rights deal with issues of intellectual freedom, the third article speaks more specifically to the responsibility of libraries and librarians to provide access to information of all types, and to challenge attempts of censorship when and where they exist. The limiting of access to information deemed too controversial because it runs contrary to the beliefs or opinions of either a single person, or to a group of people, have had some success through censorship, and although the intentions are often only meant to protect a few, they instead work to threaten all who actively pursue enlightenment and knowledge. Librarians must remain active on the front lines of censorship challenges to ensure that intellectual freedom can be preserved for all.

Even though attempts at censoring information and preventing enlightenment are most prevalent in public and school libraries, academic librarians must still actively contribute to the overall conversation, help to support the cause, and always be ready to defend the intellectual and academic freedom of others should challenges arise. Historically, materials that contained offensive language, were sexually explicit, or were ideological in nature, were targets of the censor, but other materials have been targeted simply because the ideas or subject matter put forward was more forward thinking and progressive than what was traditionally accepted at the time. When looking at banned books lists specifically, which provide some evidence of cases of censorship existing in libraries across the United States, it is most often these very materials that eventually gain wide acceptance for both helping to bring about social change, and for helping to shape the course of history. As a librarian, the idea that someone would choose to censor information or ban books was quite surprising to me at first, but after better understanding the responsibility we have in serving our community, as well as the negative implications that such bans can have on intellectual freedom rights, I am committed to ensuring that access to information of all types, controversial or not, is available to all who wish to seek it.

One way to stay informed and to help challenge censorship in libraries, is to celebrate ALA’s “Banned Books Week”. By promoting both successful and unsuccessful cases of banned and challenged books, ALA provides an awareness that allows libraries and librarians to engage the public in a discussion that can only help to highlight the importance of intellectual freedom and the right to read. This year’s event will take place the week of Sept 24th through Sept 30th. I am linking the site below, and I encourage you to browse the various banned books lists and literature found on this page.

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/

Steven Ward, Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor/ Visiting User Services and Instructional Services Librarian

April Student and Staff Picks

Check out April’s Book Picks complied by student employee Mac and Faculty Librarian John Laubersheimer.  We have pulled the books from this list and set up a display near the front of the Library on the Level 2 (Main Floor). Stop by and check one out today!

Mac, a Student Worker

Mac’s Picks

  1. Mindfulness by Ellen Langer
  2. The Basic Works of Aristotle by Aristotle
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning: an Introduction to Logotherapy by Viktor E. Frankl
  4. Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez
  5. The Little Brown Handbook by H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron
  6. The Plague by Stuart Gilbert
  7. The Martian by Andy Weir
  8. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  10. Lord of the Flies: a Novel by William Golding
  11. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  12. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  13. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  14. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
  15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  16. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  18. Under the Blood-red Sun by Graham Salisbury
  19. The Lord of the Rings Collection by J.R.R. Tolkien
  20. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  21. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  22. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

 

John, a librarianJohn’s Picks

  1. Byzantium: the Apogee by John Julius Norwich
  2. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
  3. Everything Bad is Good for You: How’s Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making us Smarter by Steven Johnson
  4. Understanding Comics: the Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
  5. Amazing Fantastic Incredible: a Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran
  6. The Absolute Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  7. Twenty Thousand League Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  9. 2001: a Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
  10. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  11. Heart of Darkness and Other Tales by Joseph Conrad
  12. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  13. The Hitchhiker’s Trilogy by Douglas Adams
  14. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  15. Grendel by John Gardner
  16. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  17. The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss
  18. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  19. The Way Things Work by David Macaulay and Neil Ardley
  20. The Truth About Chernobyl by Grigori Medvedev
  21. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  22. Car Talk Classics: No Factory Recalls. So Far. by Tom Magliozzi
  23. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling