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When a Password Isn’t a Password

Posted by Paula Doubleday

01 Apr 2012 — No Comments

Posted in security

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A few years ago I was working on a project and was missing some critical content. The writer was unfortunately in Europe on vacation. However she called her housesitter and arranged for me to come by and get on her computer to download the document. I sat down at her computer, turned it on and was asked for her login. Oh. The housesitter didn’t know the password. Hmmm. “What’s the dog’s name?” I asked. Buster. Typed it in and bingo, I was in her computer.

While I can’t complain that this worked out well for me at the time, it brings up an important issue about passwords. Facebook recently announced the top 20 list of passwords which should give you pause.

1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. rockyou
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123

If you are concerned about having your computer or e-mail hacked, this list is a wake-up call. A good password is more than 8 characters, incorporates upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. For example, instead of “princess”, you could use “Pr7nc4ss”. Or make it even more difficult and modify to “Pr72nc4ss!”.

Vary your passwords too. If you use the same password for everything, once a hacker gets in, they can get into all your accounts. For financial accounts, make them all different and make them complex. None of us think this will happen to us, but it happens all the time.

Be creative but know they will try all the above passwords first to get into your computer. 123456 GO!!

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