Security for all

Diary Of An InfoSec Kid – Betcha can’t beat THAT Password!

I wanted to blast an assumption about your kids’ ability to manage their own security

My kids have been told since they were tiny what it’s ok, and not ok, to do and say online. That’s not to say I’m laissez faire. I keep track of sites they visit and computers stay where I can see them. But bit by bit I’m cedeing some of that control. The lovely surprise: They’re having a giggle while learning and I’ve now got primary schoolers who help their friends do better…and their teachers.

Recently they pootled home from school with logins for a 3rd party learning portal. No doubt convinced the kids couldn’t cope with anything else, it came with a terrifyingly simple password. So, to prove a point, I suggested that my youngest should think about changing it.

We got our thinking caps on…and these tweets show the results:

We did that by coming up with 3 or 4 unrelated words that meant something to her. Swapping obvious and popular ones for more random ones, including, much to her delight, some made up primary school type ‘rude’ words (after all, the aim is not to tell anyone or say it out loud!). I then said she needed to have at least one symbol, number, and capital letter in there.

The result was a crazy mixture of words that made her giggle and, when she typed something similar into a commonly used password strength checker (NEVER DO THIS WITH ACTUAL PASSWORDS!), this was the result:

More than that, as an unforeseen benefit of her age:

But all the time her Daddy was giving me “Yeah right! This is going to end in frustrated tears” looks. Which I countered with my “Wait and see you grumpy git” expression …and guess who was right 🙂

Then I set her up with her own password safe logon, just like her older sister’s (see the last Diary Of An InfoSec Kid post for more on good password security). That’s what we used the mega complicated password for – it was rejected by the learning portal cos it was too long! – complete with 2 factor authentication via one of our phones. She then used it to auto-generate and store a decent password for the educational site. She now probably boasts stronger credentials and credential protection than almost everyone online…

…but I’m not showing off. I’m just suggesting you don’t underestimate your kids, and have some fun challenging them to give good security a go.

Here’s gappy InfoSec Kid telling it in her own words (just lost her second front tooth):

If you spend a little time making this stuff a fact of all of your digital lives, it sets the whole family up for a safer, happier, online future.


These past posts set a bigger scene for that journey, and include lots of links to online security tips:

And the last instalment includes plain English security advice for parents – no matter how hard our kids try, we can still mess them up if we’re not careful.


Picture credit: Copyright: gatordawg / 123RF Stock Photo

Categories:Security for all

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