Many password protection software applications include a password generator. This provides the user with the option to allow the system to assign random characters to usernames and logins. These generators use a combination of case-sensitive letters, numbers and symbols that are mathematically generated to provide the user with the strongest, most-difficult-to-crack passwords.
Simply tell the generator your desired parameters (length, phonetics, letters, mixed case, numbers, punctuation and no similar characters are some of the options) and it will randomly produce a password that is highly secure and difficult to guess or hack based on an ideal aggregate of the options.
Password generators use encryption algorithms. These algorithms are complex mathematical equations created by cryptologists people who study the making and breaking of codes. There are only about a dozen different types of encryption algorithms, and only a few have been proven completely impervious to hackers. Government agencies and computer companies alike use these encryption algorithms to protect sensitive information pertaining to national or corporate security.
When looking for security in password management software, look at the bit strength and which type of encryption algorithm the program uses. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) also known as Rijndael and Blowfish are two reputable encryption algorithms used by password management software. AES is the official U.S. government encryption standard. These programs use 64- to 256-bit protection.
Without going into the nitty-gritty of these algorithms, it really comes down to this: the higher the number of bits, the stronger the algorithm. Subsequently, the stronger the algorithm, the more difficult it is to crack.
All this encryption jargon may beg the question: why would my email user information need to be protected by the same programs used by the Department of Defense? Well, the fact is, we don't just use passwords for email anymore. Most of our daily activities are or can be done online with the click of a mouse. We can and do regularly access our bank accounts, pay our bills and shop online. Each of these activities occurs on different websites that each require a username and password.
In order to remember the piles of user information we ve accumulated over the years, we often break the cardinal rules of password management: Don t use the same pass phrase for all logins, and don t use words that are simple and easy-to-remember (and easy to crack) like pet s or children's names. Hackers depend on everyday users to make these mistakes. Don t make their job easier.
In order to curb hacker attacks, many password management software applications include a password generator that employs one or more encryption algorithms to make user information stronger and harder to hack.
Ultimately, who wouldn t want to know that the information on their computer is as secure as the information in the Pentagon?
If you would like to read more about encryption algorithms, Mycrypto.net and nist.gov have detailed explanations pertaining to the mathematics involved in these algorithms.
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MyCrypto.net, (2006). Encryption Algorithms. Retrieved June 13, 2006, from MyCryto.net Web site: http://www.mycrypto.net/encryption/crypto_algorithms.html
CP Lab, (2002-2006). Cryptology for an Average Joe. Retrieved June 13, 2006, from CP Lab.com Web site: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Password-Managers-Generators/Password-Manager-XP.shtml