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admin2 On October - 12 - 2012

In May, 2012, almost 59,000 Twitter username and passwords were posted online by a hacker.

In June, 2012, LinkedIn announced that 6.4 million passwords were leaked after hackers attacked its system.

These are just a couple of recent hacker attacks that have been publicized.

Today, we need to ask the questions: How secure is the present Internet environment? Are our passwords secure? In view of these hacker attacks the answer to both is likely to be “not very.”

As sophisticated as businesses and governments become at foiling hackers, hackers keep evolving and trying new schemes and ploys.

In the face of this scourge it is best to be proactive. Use different passwords for different accounts. Change your passwords often. Don’t tell anybody your passwords or write them down. Create passwords that are hard to guess.

Many people, astonishingly, choose the word “password” as their password, or the number combination 123456. They choose their pet’s name, their license plate number, or their phone number. It certainly makes passwords easy to remember, but it also makes them easy to figure out.

One excellent password creation strategy is to come up with a memorable phrase (at least 6 words), eg. “Billie Jean is not my lover” and use the first letters of each word. In this instance it would be BJinml. Change any vowels to numbers, eg. i to 1, e to 3, a to 4, o to 0. This would make our password BJ1nml. And to make it more difficult, feel free to add an additional number (one you can remember) before and/or after to make the password up to 9 digits long. So now the password is BJ1nml321. That is very hard to guess but pretty easy to remember.

Creating difficult passwords and changing them often can only do so much. It is a good idea to keep a vigilant eye on your bank accounts and credit reports. That way any suspicious activity can be nipped in the bud.

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