In education, this is the time of the year when nearly everybody involved is looking to spring break. Many times students and staff find themselves in a situation where they have a little extra screen time. Whether that is at the airport waiting to travel or sitting at home binge-watching their favorite series.
Today in my classroom we had a discussion about passwords. I've always been one to share with students the importance of a good password. In addition, the value of not using exactly the same password for all of their accounts.
Spring Break is the perfect time to review how secure our password system is. Especially after seeing and hearing what has happened with the Yahoo security breach. I'm sure my yahoo account is floating around out there somewhere in the world.
So I started simple with my students having them ask themselves, what are your passwords that you currently have? Many stated that they only have maybe five or six passwords to remember. In part because they use Google Chrome and it remembers it for them, which is secure when you're logged into your Chromebook.
We had a good discussion on how to create a password and what makes it secure. Most students knew that the password had to be at least 8 characters long and it was important to mix uppercase, numbers and special characters in it. As well as the fact that we don't use the same password for all of our accounts. One student shared his system that would take the first name and add the jersey number of his favorite Minnesota Wild hockey player.
My students asked which password management system I used, to which I said Last Pass. It's free and extremely easy to use. I know many other people that use a pay service called 1Password and both get great reviews. Each of these services can save the passwords you create, as well as having the ability to create complete random ones.
So now it was time to for the students to take those password skills into spring break and update their accounts. We all agreed that the next time we are summoned to enter a password, it is time to take extra effort to check the quality of that password. Then set some time to modify other important passwords as needed. Creating a strong password system should be a regular practice for all users.