The New York Times ran the following article about the theft of more than a billion, yes, billion with a “B”, sets of internet credentials. Those would be username/password combinations like you use daily to access sensitive information everywhere. Sadly, the article says “There is worry among some in the security community that keep personal information out of the hands of thieves is increasingly a losing battle”. Read the original NYTimes.com article below.
With this in mind, please take a moment and think about what I have written below.
Most every day I get engaged in conversations that go much like this:
You: Should I change my password?
You: But I will never remember the new password. Plus all the rules are complex, and I’ve also learned that I should have a different password for every site.
Me: Yes, I’ll show you how and it will be simple and it only takes three minutes to learn and only takes three steps to complete.
Here’s a way to have a strong, secure and unique password for each site.
Let’s assume you want a new password for Yahoo.com.
First, pick a ‘typical’ password you can always remember. As an example, let’s use ‘baseball’. this doubleword will serve as the base of our password. This stays the same for every site.
Next, let’s use ‘123’ for the beginning and ‘$$$’ for the ending. This also stays the same for every site
Last, we’ll insert ‘YAHOO’ within ‘baseball’ (using all capital letters). This changes based on site.
The YAHOO password has now become, 123baseYAHOOball$$$
For GMAIL, this same scheme has become, 123baseGMAILball$$$
And for AMAZON, this same scheme has become, 123baseAMAZONball$$$
Trust me these unique passwords are quite secure. They contain numerals, capital letters, special characters and are very long. Also importantly they are easy for you to remember and reconstruct. You can check the strength at sites like https://howsecureismypassword.net/
You’ve heard enough about why you need to change your passwords, but, if you If you need additional reading material, take a look at this NBCNews article http://nbcnews.to/1o3XAv8 It outlines the prevalent attitude behind not changing passwords along with the fact that 18% of internet users have been hacked online.
As an aside, next time we speak, ask me about my Starbucks card hacking story, it’s actually amusing.
OK, time for some coffee now.