Please see below an example of a lesson plan for junior primary students. Within this lesson you can discuss the importance of creating strong passwords that hackers would find hard to hack. The links provided, provide a password checker that will enable students to type their created password in and find out if there password is easy or hard to crack. This could then flow into class discussion and students could discuss if they think they may need to change any passwords they have at home.
Activity 1: How secure is this password?
To learn which password combinations are the hardest to guess or crack.
- Website: https://howsecureismypassword.net OR https://www.experte.com/password-check
- Information: The most commonly used passwords in 2017
- Projector or smartboard to present to the class.
Background information (for the teacher)
Secure passwords are difficult to guess by others or be cracked by computers designed for this purpose. Password ‘cracking’ involves a computer using a brute force attack to systematically try many password combinations until it finds the one that is your password. Simple and commonly used passwords are easily cracked.
So just how easy is it for a password to be cracked? In 2012 a password cracking machine was unveiled that could cycle through as many as 350 billion guesses per second. In eight hours, it was able to brute force every possible eight-character password combination containing upper- and lower-case letters, digits, and symbols.
The increasing amount of personal information we put on social media also makes it easier for other people to guess our passwords, including strangers who can access our social media profiles. Further, some ‘quizzes’ that distributed on social media are designed to steal passwords or password recovery answers (e.g. questions like ‘What was your first pet’s name?’ and ‘What town did you grow up in?’ are commonly used to help people recover forgotten passwords).
1. Introduce the aim of the activity. Advise students that they should not share their own passwords at any time during the activity!
2. Ask the class to suggest passwords that they think people might commonly use (both combinations – e.g. ‘password’ and categories – e.g. pet names).
3. Compare their list against the most commonly used passwords in 2017.
4. Explain to the students why it is important not to use a common password (including types) by drawing on the background information
5. Time to put the common passwords to the test and see how long it would take them to be cracked! Launch https://howsecureismypassword.net OR https://www.experte.com/password-check, enter each password and see the result.
6. Begin to use increasingly complex passwords (length and variation of characters) and see how the time frame changes. In doing this, help the students work out which numbers and symbols are easily exchangeable for letters. For example:
7. Ask the students if, based on this activity, they think they should change some of their passwords? If yes, what strategies could they use make them stronger?