Changing Our Passwords, Improving Cyber Security

Changing Our Passwords, Improving Cyber Security


During a seminar on cyber security held last month, Bill Cheswick, a scientist with AT&T, presented a new method for creating passwords that may be rendered almost invulnerable to hackers or other cyber security threats.

According to a report in the September 20, 2010 online edition of TechNewsDaily, the method involves using map coordinates of a location known only to an end user to create a password. The further down one drilled in terms of the coordinates of the location, the more difficult it would be to have a password, built on longitudinal and latitudinal information, broken.

Cheswick’s proposal comes during the Federal Communications Commission’s current review of cyber security threats.  Specifically, the FCC is seeking comment on the creation of a cyber security roadmap. The purpose of the roadmap is to identify vulnerabilities to communications networks or end users and to develop countermeasures and solutions in preparation for, and response to, cyber threats and attacks.

The review is intended to support the FCC’s proposed national broadband plan. The plan requires the identification of five of the most critical cyber security threats to the communications infrastructure, and calls for the establishment of a two-year plan for the FCC to address them.

The FCC acknowledges that a user’s lack of trust of online experiences will dampen the demand for broadband services. No doubt the hacking of an end user’s password would have a chilling effect on the use of the Internet and demand for broadband and other online services.

As we identify opportunities to increase broadband adoption by members of minority communities, improving cyber security protections may help those who have not yet made the transition feel more comfortable online.


  1. A password grants access to using a computer on the net, but the net itself has vulnerabilities. Giving your information grants access to the net and your password grants access after the fact. What's the point of protecting a password if your information has been hacked? How does a password help if the net is compromised?