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Hacking Passwords as Easy as 12345 (22nd January, 2010)

New research says many of our passwords are easy for hackers to guess. A company called Impervia analyzed 32 million different hacked passwords. The most common ones include 12345, the word ‘password’ and ‘iloveyou’. The research said a hacker can get into 1,000 online accounts in just 17 minutes. Impervia says a good password must be at least eight characters long. It should contain lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters like exclamation marks, asterisks and dollar signs.

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The biggest problem about passwords is remembering them. I have dozens and dozens of different ones. It’s very annoying when I forget one. This usually happens when I’m in a hurry to access a site. I have to click the ‘forgot password?’ link to make a new one. Impervia’s advice about using different characters is excellent. Another good idea is to change your passwords regularly. I don’t do this though because I’ll probably forget the new passwords. I just hope hackers never find my passwords.

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PHRASE MATCH

Match the following phrases from the article.

Paragraph 1

1.

passwords are easy for

a.

common ones

2

The most

b.

upper case letters

3.

online

c.

hackers to guess

4.

at least eight characters

d.

accounts

5.

lower and

e.

marks

6.

exclamation

f.

long

 

Paragraph 2

1.

The biggest problem

a.

annoying

2

dozens and

b.

characters

3.

It’s very

c.

about passwords

4.

This usually happens when

d.

dozens

5.

using different

e.

regularly

6.

change your passwords

f.

I’m in a hurry


LISTENING GAP FILL

New research _______________ passwords are easy for hackers to guess. A company called Impervia analyzed 32 million different hacked passwords. The _______________ include 12345, the word ‘password’ and ‘iloveyou’. The research said a hacker can get into 1,000 online _______________ 17 minutes. Impervia says a good password _________________ eight characters long. It should contain lower and _______________, numbers and special characters like exclamation marks, asterisks _______________.

The biggest _______________ passwords is remembering them. I have dozens _______________ different ones. It’s very annoying _________________. This usually happens when I’m in a hurry to access a site. I have to click the ‘forgot password?’ link _______________ one. Impervia’s advice about using different characters is excellent. Another good idea is _______________ passwords regularly. I don’t do this though because I’ll probably forget the new passwords. _______________ hackers never find my passwords.


MULTIPLE CHOICE

New research says (1) ____ of our passwords are easy for hackers to guess. A company called Impervia analyzed 32 million different hacked passwords. The most (2) ____ ones include 12345, the word ‘password’ and ‘iloveyou’. The research said a hacker can (3) ____ into 1,000 online accounts in just 17 minutes. Impervia says a good password must be at (4) ____ eight characters long. It should contain lower and (5) ____ case letters, numbers and special characters like exclamation marks, asterisks and dollar signs.

The biggest problem about passwords is (6) ____ them. I have dozens and dozens of different ones. It’s very (7) ____ when I forget one. This usually happens when I’m in a hurry to access a site. I have to click the ‘forgot password?’ link (8) ____ make a new one. Impervia’s advice about using different characters is excellent. Another good idea is (9) ____ change your passwords regularly. I don’t do this though because I’ll probably forget the new passwords. I just (10) ____ hackers never find my passwords.

Put the correct words from this table into the article.

1.

(a)

much

(b)

many

(c)

all

2.

(a)

common

(b)

commonly

(c)

commonest

3.

(a)

take

(b)

have

(c)

get

4.

(a)

lost

(b)

less

(c)

least

5.

(a)

higher

(b)

upper

(c)

top

6.

(a)

remembering

(b)

remembers

(c)

remembered

7.

(a)

annoys

(b)

annoyance

(c)

annoying

8.

(a)

to

(b)

at

(c)

by

9.

(a)

for

(b)

to

(c)

with

10.

(a)

hope

(b)

hoping

(c)

hopeful


SPELLING

Spell the jumbled words (from the text) correctly.

Paragraph 1

1.

New ahsecrer says…

2.

The most mncmoo ones

3.

nilneo accounts

4.

peupr case letters

5.

exclamation rksma

6.

ladolr signs

 

Paragraph 2

7.

The biggest rpmelob

8.

dozens of itenfderf ones

9.

when I’m in a yrhur

10.

ecscsa a site

11.

agnhce your passwords

12.

I’ll probably egotrf


PUT THE TEXT BACK TOGETHER

Number these lines in the correct order.

(    )

minutes. Impervia says a good password must be at least eight characters long. It should contain lower

1  )

New research says many of our passwords are easy for hackers to guess. A company called Impervia analyzed

(    )

32 million different hacked passwords. The most common ones include 12345, the word ‘password’ and

(    )

and upper case letters, numbers and special characters like exclamation marks, asterisks and dollar signs.

(    )

because I’ll probably forget the new passwords. I just hope hackers never find my passwords.

(    )

site. I have to click the ‘forgot password?’ link to make a new one. Impervia’s advice about using

(    )

ones. It’s very annoying when I forget one. This usually happens when I’m in a hurry to access a

(    )

The biggest problem about passwords is remembering them. I have dozens and dozens of different

(    )

different characters is excellent. Another good idea is to change your passwords regularly. I don’t do this though

(    )

‘iloveyou’. The research said a hacker can get into 1,000 online accounts in just 17


THE READING / TAPESCRIPT

With a partner, put the words back into the correct order.

1.

passwords    are    easy    for    hackers    to    guess    Many   of    our.    

2.

include     most     ones     12345     The     common.    

3.

get     can     hacker     into     1,000     accounts     online     A.    

4.

8     A     must     least     password     at     characters     good     be.    

5.

upper     should     case     contain     letters     lower     and     It.    

6.

ones     and     dozens     I     of     have     different     dozens.    

7.

I     when     annoying     very     It’s     one     forget.    

8.

when     I’m     This     in     usually     a     happens     hurry.    

9.

is     to     Another     change     good     your     idea     passwords.    

10.

I     find     just     my     hope     passwords     hackers     never.    


DISCUSSION (Write your own questions)

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

1.

________________________________________________________

2.

________________________________________________________

3.

________________________________________________________

4.

________________________________________________________

5.

________________________________________________________

6.

________________________________________________________


WRITING

Write about passwords for 10 minutes. Show your partner your paper. Correct each other’s work.

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________


HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about Internet passwords. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about passwords. Include imaginary interviews with a password hacker and someone who tries to stop hackers. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

4. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to a hacker. Ask him/her three questions about passwords. Give him/her three of your opinions on online passwords. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Your partner will answer the questions you asked.

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