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Hello Todd: I listened to a conf call with Sher Matton yesterday - we talked about your blog. Nic work, I know it can be a lot of work and is mostly thankless. I wanted to let you know that we are out here reading (I had heard of yoru blog bt not visited before Sher talked you up). On this identity theft thought, although I hear what you're saying, I am getting positively annoyed with 8 character alphanumeric passwords... I was fine with 5 or 6 characters, and when you look most english words are maybe 7 characters... but 8 is just a pain in the butt! With 8 character (unnatural words) passwords and frequent refresh cycels - I spend more type coming up with, remembering, and forgetting new passwords, that I am wasting time and energy every day!

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MPHNYC, I completely sympathize on your perspective regarding the annoyance of passwords and trying to remember them all. As the article I'm going to refer you to reminds us, passwords are often the first (and possibly only) defense against intrusion. They protect our most personal of information -- financial, health data, etc. -- and it's in our individual and collective best interests to go a little bit out of our way to ensure that that information stays protected. The article is entitled <a href="http://www.securityfocus.com/infocus/1537">The Simplest Security: A Guide to Better Password Practices</a> and offers some very simple tips for password usage. As an example, they suggest that as a general rule, it's always good to include the following character sets in every password:Uppercase letters such as A, B, C; Lowercase letters such as a, b,c; Numerals such as 1, 2, 3; Special characters such as $, ?, &amp;; and Alt characters such as (Cliff) Such a combination helps minimize the likelihood that any random guessing is going to crack the code, so to speak, and can go a long way towards ensuring that your personal information stays that way.