The 18 September 2019 edition of the Wall Street Journal published a Journal Report entitled “Cybersecurity”.   They provide an incredible overview of cyber security with a test relative to how much we know about passwords.  I’m going to give you the test and to save time and “ink” the answers.  I have to say I was somewhat blown away with several of the answers. Here we go.

  1. How often do hacking-related data breaches leverage stolen or weak passwords?
    1. 10% of the time
    1. 27% of the time
    1. 63% of the time
    1. 81% of the time
      1. Answer “d”
  2. Common words and phrases are safe for passwords as long as they
    1. Are easy for you to remember
    1. At least 12 characters long and include a number and a punctuation mark
    1. Are in a language other than English
    1. None of the above:  they are not ever safe
      1. Answer “d”
  3. If you are struggling to come up with a secure password you should:
    1. Use a password generator
    1. Use your favorite song
    1. Use a pattern of keys such as ASDFG on your keyboard
    1. Ask a stranger for his wife’s date of birth
      1. Answer “a”
  4. Should you use a password manager?
    1. Yes, they are secure
    1. No, one password can be used to access all of your other passwords
    1. No, often they represent a backdoor scam to collect your passwords.
    1. No, they are for lazy people who can’t manage their own passwords
      1. Answer “a”
  5. It’s a bad idea to write passwords down because
    1. You could lose your scrap of paper
    1. Someone could find your passwords
    1. Alexa can read your writing
    1. Go ahead and write them down, it’s OK.
      1. Answer “d”
  6. Which of the following is a password once used by the magician, Teller of the duo Penn & Teller, and is it strong enough?
    1. PennStateOfMind
    1. Telleraboutit
    1. Tellereverythingyoufeel
    1. MofoKnows666
      1. Answer “d”
  7. You can use the password for more than account.  True or false?
    1. True
    1. False
    1. True, but only if you have strong passwords
    1. True, but only if you use it for passwords that are not important
      1. Answer “d”
  8. Who is considered a father of computer passwords?
    1. Fernando Corbato
    1. Alan Turing
    1. Bill Gates
    1. Ada Lovelace
      1. Answer “a”
  9. Which of the following passwords is the very best?
    1. Ilovecats
    1. EyeLuvKatzs3MeatPlatter
    1. iloveKatz123
    1. EyeLoveKatzs3MeatPlatter!WithAllPastrami
      1. Answer “b”
  10. How much longer does it take to crack a 12-character password drawn from uppercase and lowercase letters, the 10 digits and 10 symbols verses one with just 6 lowercase letters?
    1. 62 times longer
    1. 62,000 times longer
    1. 62 million times longer
    1. 62 trillion times longer
      1. Answer “d”
  11. On average, how many on-line accounts do people have that require passwords?
    1. 3
    1. 9
    1. 23
    1. 400
      1. Answer “c”
  12. What is the most common way Americans keep track of their passwords?
    1. Writing them down on paper
    1. Memorizing them
    1. Saving them on their Internet browser
    1. Using a password manager
  13. How many hours each year do employees spend resetting their passwords?
    1. About 2 hours
    1. Roughly 3 hours
    1. Around 18 hours
    1. More than 24 hours
      1. Answer “c”
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