You've probably heard that regularly changing your password is an important part of protecting your personal information. Even more critical is choosing a password that is difficult to crack. Intel aims to educate and hopefully inspire users to create safer passwords with their just-announced Password Win contest. 30 first prize winners will receive McAfee All Access 2013 and three grand prize winners will be given Intel Ultrabooks.
Entering is easy. Head to Intel's official sweepstakes page and input a password that you think is difficult to crack. Intel will then tell you how long it would take hackers to discover it.
I confidently entered a 10-digit password with a mix of uppercase, lowercase, and special characters, only to find that it would take just over three minutes to crack. You will then receive tips about the importance of using a mix of characters; but the real takeaway is that "Increasing your password strength is more about length than it is complexity." In other words "I drank Groelsch @ Disneyland's tea cup ride" is like 1,000,000,000 times stronger than f0^rG%5Tu4. Intel also stresses the importance of using multiple passwords for different site types such as banking, personal, and social, and easy ways to diversify your social passwords, for added protection.
You then share your pledge to change your password on Facebook and/or Twitter (using the hash tag #changedmypassword) and you'll be taken to a page to input your name and e-mail and check that you're over 18. There's a limit of one entry per person per day. There are three entry periods this month:
Entry Period 1: 12:00am PST, May 6, 2013 to 11:59pm PST, May 9, 2013
Entry Period 2: 12:00am PST, May 13, 2013 to 11:59pm PST, May 16, 2013
Entry Period 3: 12:00am PST, May 10 2013 to 11:59pm PST, May 23, 2013
New winners will be selected every Monday and contacted by e-mail. Check out the Password Win official rules here.