A word about passwords, security, and common sense.

Did you know that there are 10,000 passwords out there which are used by 98.8% of all people on the Internet?

It’s true – people use easy to guess passwords such as “12345″ or “password” for things without giving any thought to the potential threat.

Allow me to present a scenario :

I want to get access to your BANK account, but I can’t because you are smart…  You chose a long string of random numbers and letters for your bank password.  Your weak e-mail password is guessed, or cracked by me though, through the use of about 10 minutes of time and a free piece of software.

Now that I am in your e-mail inbox, I go to Facebook.com and hit the “I forgot my password” button.  That password is then sent to your e-mail inbox.  Now I can log into your Facebook account.  From there I gather all sorts of great demographic information, such as your date of birth and your mother’s maiden name.

Next I go to your bank account and hit their “Forgotten Password” button.  I am asked some questions that *only you should know* such as mother’s maiden name, or D.O.B…  Presto – since I was able to verify that I am you, a link to reset the password for your bank account is sent to your e-mail.

The e-mail account that you thought had nothing important in it…

Please, people, pick three passwords and stick with them.

Bank Accounts, Utility Accounts, or any accounts that would have access to tax information : REALLY HARD password…  10 or more letters and numbers, such as : buLawOrk!4433

Facebook, E-mail, or other sites with critical information : TOUGH password… 7-10 *random* letters and numbers, such as : SkLoT?12

Throwaways accounts, like for commenting on news articles, need a : MEDIUM password… 5-7 letters and numbers, such as : CaT123

Notice how I used upper and lowercase letters, as well as punctuation?  Those increase the difficulty of cracking your password dramatically.  Simply adding an exclamation point, for instance, can increase the length of time that it takes to crack a password from 1 day all the way to 1,000 years.

Please, people, don’t share your passwords.  If you must write them down, put them somewhere safe… and finally – make them secure.

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