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We live in some of the most interesting times humans have ever been through.
The technological advancements and endless possibilities that lie at our fingertips were unimaginable just several decades ago.
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While this means that we are pioneering new grounds it also means we are facing issues that never came up before.
The structure of our entire society is rapidly shifting into the digital realm, as we are now fully dependent on the Internet for even the most basic daily tasks.
But this brings up a series of issues and vulnerabilities that you can’t ignore anymore.
Security has become in recent years one of the most important topics worldwide. Along with the Snowden revelations came the cold realization that even our governments are keeping a close eye on each and every one of us.
Not to mention the ever-growing hacker community, filled with predators eager to get their hands on our bank accounts and digital wallets.
One of the biggest vulnerabilities that we are now facing is the weakness of the passwords we are using.
In the early years, breaking passwords was not easy. So an easy combination of words and digits was enough to protect against hackers and attackers.
But as time went by, computers became more and more powerful, allowing brute force algorithms to grow in strength and precision.
Passwords gradually lost their strength and became more of a problem.
What is Diceware?
In 1995, researcher Arnold Reinhold came up with the Diceware method for creating strong passwords and passphrases that are easy to remember and impossible to break with cryptographic attacks.
The method is rather simple and it involves the use of dice rolls to create entropy, which is a mathematical correspondence to the concept of randomness.
Our brains are wired for pattern matching, an evolutionary trait that helped us to survive in the wilderness. But this also means that we perform quite poorly when it comes to creating random sequences.
The Diceware method overcomes this issue by using dice rolls to create random number sequences.
Five rolls will give you a number, which is then correlated to a word from a list containing a total of 7779 words. To put things into perspective, a six words passphrase created with this method would need hundreds of thousands of years to be hacked with the current hardware, as opposed to the common password that may take only a couple of days.
How to create a Diceware password?
First, you need to get Reinhold’s Diceware list. Alternatively, you can look up the diceware list online. There are variations of it that have different words.
Then, all you have to do is roll your dice 5 times. The final number will correspond with a random word on the list. For instance, 4-4-4-5-5 will correspond with the word oscar.
Check out your number in the word list and write it down. Repeat the process until you get enough words for your desired password length.
You should write the new password on a small piece of paper and carry it with you for a couple of days, just until you’ve properly memorized it. Make sure to properly destroy it after you finish.
You should immediately use this password for the most important applications that store your personal information.
WiFi connections, password managers, encryption programs, VPNs or security questions are the best places to start.
Diceware isn’t really for Facebook, Gmail, or other popular online services. These usually have security measures against brute force attacks. Furthermore, if hackers manage to break the servers that your passwords are stored on, they will be compromised. You will once again become vulnerable.