So You Think Your Passwords Are Secure
After being in the IT industry for almost 30 years, one of the hardest challenges is to get people to realize how important good passwords are.
From those that think that password1 is a decent password to those that have no passwords at all. Yet in this day and age, we actually have a lot more to lose by those that want to gain access to our accounts. Identity theft, loss of private information and in general – it is simply a PIA.
I’ve helped customers clean up hacked Hotmail, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and many other accounts where they have lost their contacts, emails and then had their friends inundated with spam emails.
The general takeaway from this article? Here’s five:
1. Just adding 123 to the end of your dogs name will no longer cut it. It can take seconds for an experienced cracker get around it.
2. The longer the password is, the better. 9 characters is better than 6 and 16 characters becomes computationally unfeasible to break. Add a numerical or special character to the middle of your password. Here’s a great link on long passwords xkcd.com
3. Be really careful logging into accounts on public networks – Libraries, trains, coffee shops etc. Make sure that you have a secure connection (https://) so that passwords are not sent unencrypted.
4. Use a different password for every account you have. I know its a pain, but don’t watch all your accounts go down one by one after one account gets hacked.
5. Use a password tracker if you have many accounts that you need to track (which is most of us). I personally use KeePass to track and help me generate solid passwords where appropriate.
These are just general tips and are not meant to be exhaustive. There is lots more great information on the Internet on the best ways to protect yourself. This important thing is to look at this issue seriously.