Inside Higher Ed's Academic Minute features Megan Squire
Squire, a professor of computing sciences, talks about cybersecurity and how to craft stronger passwords.
The Academic Minute, an audio offering from Inside Higher Ed that features professors from top colleges and universities around the country, is featuring the insights of Elon's Megan Squire, professor of computing sciences.
In the segment, Squire tackles the questions of why some websites require numbers and punctuation in passwords, and whether those steps actually help make them harder for hackers to guess.
"When a hacker gets a list of stolen credentials, our easiest targets are the folks who used dictionary words, like ‘dragon’ or ‘password,’ or really common passwords like ‘abc123’ and ‘qwerty’," Squire says. "But for weird passwords that we’ve never seen before, we’ll have to conduct what’s called a brute-force attack. This means writing software to try every possible combination until we find a match. A well-chosen password will make the brute force attack take as long as possible."