5 ways to make an easy-to-remember, ultra-secure password

Nobody wants to get hacked. But when it comes to choosing a password, there are key steps you can take to reduce your risk of data intrusions from unwanted virtual visitors. This week’s edition of Upgrade Your Life will teach you how to make a strong, safe password that’s easy to remember — and how to reduce your odds of being an easy target for hackers.

1. Worst Passwords
In 2009, a major hack on social gaming site RockYou revealed some troubling patterns in how we choose our passwords. The Imperva Application Defense Center (ADC), a security research group, examined the passwords of RockYou’s clients to see just what went wrong. The study found that more than 29,000 of the compromised accounts were using the password “123456” — the most popular password. The second and third most common passwords were also strings of consecutive numbers. And the fourth most common password? “Password.” Other popular passwords from the RockYou case include “iloveyou,” “abc123,” and a handful of common first names like “Ashley” and “Michael.”

How to avoid bad passwords:
* Don’t use any part of your name or email address: These two pieces of information are easily obtained about you.
* Avoid any other personal information: Don’t use your birthday, family member or pet names, street addresses, or anything else that could be public knowledge for prying eyes.
* Don’t use consecutive numbers: These are extremely easy for a cracking program to decode, and as you can see from the ADC study, they’re also wildly popular.
* Avoid words in the dictionary: This includes random sequences of words and slang terms too.



2. Best Passwords: Uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
Nowadays, many websites encourage good password practices by forcing you to input a mix of numbers, letters, symbols, and mixed capitalization. This approach is definitely the right idea: mixing it up can pay off, statistically speaking. Why? Most password hacks you’ll be warding off use a technique called a “brute force attack.” This flavor of hack uses automated computer software to guess every possible combination to crack your personal code.

According to the ADC study, automated hacking software combined with poorly chosen passwords means a hacker can break into 1000 accounts in just 17 minutes. If you introduce more variables into your password — namely numbers, symbols, and a mix of lower and upper case letters — intrusive software will take longer to crack your code.

Make passwords more secure:
* Add letters: Since there are 26 letters in the alphabet, one additional letter can make your password 26 times harder to crack.
* Use a mix of lower and uppercase letters: Mixing up your cases adds complexity and safety to your chosen password.
* Add numbers: Using letters, words, and phrases for your passwords seems both natural and easy to remember, but it’s much safer to diversify.
* Add symbols: Symbols are the real secret ingredient to security. Since there are over 1500 symbols a hacking program needs to run through to correctly lock down one character of your password, adding one extra asterisk or exclamation point can make it 1500 times more difficult for intruders to pry open your personal accounts.

3. Password length = Password strength
Most websites prompt you to create a code with a minimum and maximum amount of characters, often between 8 and 14. Since each additional character increases your odds of staying safe, be sure to max out the length of your password. If you can enter 14 characters, don’t stop at 10 — those extra 4 characters will work to your statistical advantage.

Here’s an example: compare the passwords m00se44 verses m00se44!.!.!.!
Sure m00se44 might be faster to type, but m00se44!.!.!.! is a far safer bet. How much safer? According to a handy online brute force simulator, hackers could crack m00se44 in less than a second. What about m00se44!.!.!.!? Assuming that the hacking software is guessing one hundred billion combinations a second, believe it or not, it could take the same software almost 200,000 centuries to crack it.

4. Password padding: Symbols are your secret weapon
Much of the basis for this article comes from the research of a noted security expert named Steve Gibson. His most recent practical advice involves a simple technique called “password padding.” It used to be that a random password like Pr5^w4”t3F was perceived to be the best password. But the reality is that people can’t actually remember those totally random passwords, so they don’t end up using or sticking with them.

To solve this dilemma, Gibson wanted to create a memorable password strategy that would be equally secure. He stumbled onto the idea that long passwords loaded with symbols can be both ultra-secure and yet also easily memorized. He came up with the following example to prove his point.

Which of these is easier to remember? Which is more secure?

The more memorable password is D0g!(!(!(!(!(! since it looks like the familiar word “dog” and ends with a repeating pattern of symbols. And according to Gibson, D0g!(!(!(!(!(! is also the more secure password because, while it too has numbers, letters (upper and lowercase), and symbols, the first example is one character longer than the random second password — and it has more symbols.

Want to see this effect in action? Play around with Gibson’s password security calculator yourself.



5. Store passwords in one place with a password manager

If you’re a little concerned about juggling all of the lengthy, ultra-secure passwords you’ve dreamed up, you can have a program do the heavy lifting. These programs and apps, known as password wallets or password managers, lock down your cache of codes by encrypting them, which translates them into a secure language that hackers can’t parse. If RockYou’s data had been encrypted, that security scandal could have been avoided altogether.

While no method is infallible, well-regarded password managers like LastPass and 1Password are great options. With a password manager, you’ll use a master password to access the program or app, and it will auto-fill password entry fields for you as you log in around the web.  Both LastPass and 1Password feature mobile and desktop versions, so you can keep both computer and your phonelocked down safely.


(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs or documents; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Original content from Yahoo}

Academic Superstore – Parent Reminder!

If you have kids in school, you can get products in the academic superstore at a HUGE discount. When I upgrade my Adobe Products (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, AI etc) I only go through Academic Superstore.

Parents Save Big at Academic Superstore

Ordering with Academic Superstore

Academic Superstore knows how expensive it is to be a student, teacher or parent of a student. To help with those costs, we offer discounts of up to 85% on the software you need.

These low prices are made possible by educational discounts that you qualify for as part of the Academic Community. To qualify, simply send us a copy of your school ID or  another document listed on their site.

To receive your order as quickly as possible, follow these steps:

  1. Add the item(s) you would like to purchase to your cart.
  2. Complete your order online
  3. Reference your order number and email, fax or electronically upload one of the accepted academic documents to us.

After Ordering

It typically takes us less than a business day to process your documents, and you will not be charged until after you have been approved. If there is any problem with the documents we receive we will notify you.

Visit the order status page to check on the progress of your order.


If you have any questions about this process please contact them.


Meta Keywords: Why I don’t use them

There is one question about SEO which seems to be coming up time and time again, so let me answer it now and be done with it. Meta Keywords are useless. No search engine uses them for any real rankings. That is why by default, there is no meta keywords input field in my WordPress SEO plugin and why I never use them. The fact that “other SEO plugins do have them” isn’t a good reason for me to enable them in my plugin by default.

Let me give you the full history of the meta keywords tag’s demise. In September 2009, Google announced officially what was already true for years back then: “Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking”. Matt Cutts explains it in a video:


Do Yahoo! and Bing use meta keywords?

In October of that same year, 2009, almost two years ago, at SMX East, Yahoo! announced they no longer use the meta keywords tag anymore either. This turned out to be not entirely true, as they do index them, but they won’t help you one bit.

Bing said at one point, in a guide about how to optimize your page:

“It was abused far too much and lost most of its cachet. But there’s no need to ignore the tag. Take advantage of all legitimate opportunities to score keyword credit, even when the payoff is relatively low.”

So basically they’re encouraging you to do fill it out, even though the “credit” will be admittedly very, very low. I say: don’t do it at all. Don’t waste your time. Instead of thinking about which keywords to put in that silly meta keywords tag for 5 minutes, think about your content for 5 minutes longer. Really. It’s worth it.

But I want meta keywords!!!

If you really can’t live without them, go to the WordPress SEO dashboard and enable them:

Meta Keywords in the WordPress SEO plugin

Don’t expect me to think you’re cool though. The reality is, that if you’re trying to rank for any term that’s even only a little competitive, meta keywords won’t help. You should write engaging, meaningful content on a technically well optimized platform and get good links and social engagement. That’s what builds great rankings, meta keywords have nothing to do with it.


(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs or documents; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Original content from Yoast}

Photographer Resources – Client Site and Templates!

Tennille King and I are teaming up again to bring you an amazing deal on our Client Site, Classroom and Communications Package for your clients!!

I have a private Client Information Site that walks my clients through the photography process from start to finish. It’s an easy way to keep all of the details in one place and share information with my clients. Four main menus guide them along: Welcome, Before Your Session, After Your Session and Product Guide.

I’ve teamed up with kimtown for a special offer for photographers! Purchase a Client Information Site (installed, customized to your branding and preloaded with easy to change wording for all pages) at a highly discounted group rate. This includes pages like Terms Agreement, Client Interview, Session Guide, Order Guide, Investment Guide, product images, and suggestions for Wall Layouts! The regular price for kimtown’s Client Information Site is $225. But…

If 10 or more people purchase with this group buy, the price is only $50!! We already have 5 people signed up. If we don’t reach the 10 person requirement for the group buy, Kim has agreed to offer a special rate of $75 – still an amazing deal!

This offer is available to Preferred Access and All-Access members of The Classroom. Not a member yet? That’s easy – I’ve also put Preferred Access to The Classroom on sale! Regular price is $95, on sale for $75 this week. Need details on Preferred Access? Click here! Preferred Access members are able to download lots and lots of templates, wording and marketing ideas. In addition, The Classroom is a great place to brainstorm and get advice. Any time I create a new template for my business, I share it for FREE in The Classroom.

Let’s make this simple:
1. Join The Classroom here: http://tkbusiness.com/tk/shop/the-classroom/preferred-access/ (save $20 this week)
(Already a member? Email me to get in on the group buy for the Client Information Site.)

2. Add your name to the kimtown Client Site Group Buy discussion in The Classroom. TAKING NAMES ON THE GROUP BUY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. PAYMENTS DUE FRIDAY.

3. Receive a customized, installed Client Information Site, lots of templates, free wording, and unlimited access to The Classroom (no expiration). Total payment with the group buy rate is only $125 (for a $320 product!)

4. What are you waiting for? READY SET GO! :)