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Monday, February 07, 2011

bosco

I saw a sobering tidbit over on 'Book of Joe' a couple of days ago which was based on a recent article in Business Week:

The five most commonly used computer passwords are [drumroll please]:

1. 123456
2. password
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123

Needless to say, those are the ones hackers try first when attempting to hijack your online life.

And since many people like to use the same password in as many places as possible (there's less to remember that way, right?), once a hacker has climbed aboard your yahoo or gmail account... they can use your password to go shopping on Amazon... access your paypal account... and even try all the major banks to see if you've been just that dumb!

Anyone want to take a moment and go change their password(s)? I thought so... we'll wait.

Okay, now that we're all back from circling our online wagons... just how safe are we?

According to the article, here is how long it takes a hacker's computer to randomly guess your password (based on how long it is and what it is made up of):


Password

So, if you, like 'Seinfeld's' George Castanza, chose 'bosco' as the key to all you hold dear... a reasonably skilled hacker can begin cleaning you out in less than ten minutes.

Hmmm, I see a few of you have gone away again to update your passwords.

It's probably for the best. I'm tired of getting urgent messages from your hijacked email accounts telling me you were pick-pocketed in London and are now stranded in Heathrow in need of money to get home. Or that I should click on a funny link which takes me to some online pharmaceutical hell.

I know I've made a few small adjustments to my online security as a result of this information.

Consider this just another PSA from the management here at treppenwitz (oh, and from Book of Joe, of course).

Don't thank us... we're givers.

Posted by David Bogner on February 7, 2011 | Permalink

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1. Install a password manager like KeePass or LastPass. There are others.

2. Learn how to use it. Set the password length to 15 characters, at least.

3. Pick a master password like a mnemonic. Invent and remember your own sentence like: "A Big Tudor House Tastes Like Gasoline For You", and the password you type would be "ab2doorhtlg4u".

4. Set it up so you have to type it every time you log on, this will make you remember it.

Or just read this:
http://lifehacker.com/#!5529133/five-best-password-managers

Posted by: Freddy | Feb 7, 2011 2:36:39 PM

Freddy... You do realize that the moment I finish writing this comment I'm going to check to see if "ab2doorhtlg4u" works on any of your accounts. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 7, 2011 2:45:22 PM

This article has a fantastic idea about how to create solid passwords - well worth a look!
http://www.slate.com/id/2235503/pagenum/all/#p2

Posted by: toby | Feb 7, 2011 2:59:20 PM

Brute force hackings (that's where they randomly generate your password-- it's basically guessing, but the computer does it) generally checks words in the dictionary first, then goes from there.

Doing "1337" forms of words helps, sometimes. ("Leet"-- replace some letters with numbers.)

Posted by: Foxfier | Feb 7, 2011 5:39:27 PM

I often wonder how secure those random questions are too - you know, "what is your mother's maiden name" or "which town were you born". Surely these could be used as random security checks by a hacker too, if they were what you used over telephone banking.

Stealing identity is increasingly easy to do. Thanks for helping us beat them at their own game!

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Feb 7, 2011 7:50:54 PM

I often wonder how secure those random questions are too - you know, "what is your mother's maiden name" or "which town were you born". Surely these could be used as random security checks by a hacker too, if they were what you used over telephone banking.

Stealing identity is increasingly easy to do. Thanks for helping us beat them at their own game!

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Feb 7, 2011 7:50:54 PM

I have little reason to worry.

Posted by: At The back of the Hill | Feb 8, 2011 12:27:03 AM

I use Treppenwitz except I spell it backwards. Let them hackers figure that one out.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 8, 2011 1:27:32 AM

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