Printer Friendly

Weeding out risky passwords.

Most computer user have at one time or another gone through the ritual of choosing a password to identify themselves as legitimate users of a computer system. But to the horror of security experts, many individuals choose "weak" passwords that are often embarrasingly easy to guess, making even the best-managed computer systems vulnerable to attack. One way to prevent users from selecting such passwords requires comparing a user's choice with a list of unacceptable words or sequences of characters. But even a modestly sized dictionary of prohibited password choices takes up a lot of memory in a computer.

The answer, says computer scientist Eugene H. Spafford of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., is to store the prohibited words in a form that occupies much less computer memory than a conventional dictionary. His OPUS project (Obvious Password Utility System) represents an ingennious attempt to develop an effective mechanism for converting words into compact sequences of bits so that checking a password against the dictionary takes roughly the same amount of time no matter how many words make up the dictionary.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:computer access
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 16, 1991
Words:180
Previous Article:Privacy versus database statistics.
Next Article:Gulf war update: assessing the damage.
Topics:


Related Articles
Risky business: tackling computer security.
Computer network insecurity: how to defend your confidential files.
30 essential steps to take right now to prevent online crime.
Passwords given away for a cheap pen! (Security).
Wisdom on password risk.
ePly into the future: introducing ePly--CalCPA's new online event registration service.
CyberScrub releases KeyChain password manager/auto form filler.
Computer passwords 'up for grabs'.
Persay delivers biometric speaker verification.
Security and products; response to comment--malware attacks via wireless devices.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters