Sunday, June 5, 2011

Online Passwords and Security Issues

I am receiving a growing number of emails and Facebook posts which are obviously links to sites designed to infect the visitors computer with a virus. Most of these links are spread by someone's email being hacked or their computer being infected by a virus. The importance of having a strong password is higher than ever before. Read this article to get up to speed on known attacks against the major Webmail services such asYahoo, Hotmail, and Gmail. 


Here are two things that you can do to greatly improve your online security.

  1. Make sure your email password is super secure and is different from other passwords. I will explain below.
  2. Make sure you understand what can make a password more secure or less secure. Do you want a super computer to be able to crack your password in a few hours or over one hundred years? It's simple math.
What is so important about my email password?
Do you have any online financial accounts? They are linked to your email address. CitiBank, US Bank, Band of America... An extremely high percentage of Americans have accounts at one or more of the top financial institutions in the country. Now, what do you do when you forget the password to your online account? You have them email you a new password or link to a page to change your password. If I have your email address and can read your email, I can change your bank account password and have complete access to your accounts. Scary! By the time you figure out you have been hacked, you may have been cleaned out. 

Important Password Tips
1- Do not ever use a password that can be found in the dictionary.
2- Do not use people's names (especially pets or family members)
3- Do not use important dates (birthdays, anniversaries...)
4- Mix it up! Use letters (upper case and lower, numbers, and symbols such as * - ( ? ...) 

Take a look at this Gizmodo article and see How Long Would It Take To Crack Your Password? Be sure to look at the chart at the top. 

Will your password take 10 minutes to crack or 44,000 years?


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