How Secure is Your Password?

Posted on September 18, 2014

First Adobe and now Gmail?

If you’re not familiar with the latest privacy scandal that’s got the world on edge, just last week it was discovered that over 5 million Gmail usernames and passwords have apparently been leaked and shared on a Russian Internet forum.

Slightly unnerved? Freaking out?

You wouldn’t be the only one.

Password protection has become a hot topic in recent months, what with the leak of naked celebrity selfies and the constant threat that one wrong click will send our most private of communications into the wrong hands.

So what can you do about it?

Well, let’s just say that cold turkey isn’t an option. We’ve all become just a little too entrenched in the digital world to start pushing for a complete withdrawal.

The truth is, now everything from paying your bills to RSVPing to your friend’s wedding will probably take place online. There’s very little we can do to completely remove ourselves from the influence of the internet.

Prevention trumps avoidance

Knowing that simply closing up shop and permanently absconding yourself from the internet isn’t an option, the onus now comes down to you making an effort to adequately protect yourself.

Just as we get insurance to cover our houses and cars, passwords are a form of protection to keep safe our online information.

So for heaven’s sake, don’t take them lightly!

With the rise of cloud-based platforms, more and more people are entrusting their treasured photos, personal emails and private documents to the security of 8 or more characters.

Why not make the most of those 8 characters?

In the wake of the Adobe password scandal that rocked the digital world, Mashable published a piece listing the 20 most popular passwords used by Adobe customers that had been hacked.

No surprises, some of the offenders featured in the Top 10 were the all to familiar ‘password‘ and the classic ‘1234

How do you protect yourself from a password hack?
  • Numbers and symbols are your friends
  • Get creative with the shift button and start adding a variety of numbers and symbols to your passwords.

    If you find that tricky to remember, substitute numbers or symbols for letters that look similar (i.e. m@keb3le1ve instead of makebelieve)

  • Don’t use the same password across different platforms
  • Are you one of those people that uses the same password for their internet banking as they do for their Facebook page? Well, I’ve got three words for you: stop doing it!

    If someone hacks just one of your accounts, they will literally find themselves with all-you-can-eat access to a smorgasbord of personal information.

    I cannot stress the importance of ensuring you use a variety of passwords online. Having the same password across multiple platforms is like building your security on a house of cards, if one falls the rest quickly follow.

  • Change your password every couple of months
  • I know it’s a pain, but so is having the entire contents of your iPhoto folder shared with the world. Set yourself a calendar reminder to change passwords periodically so that if any account is compromised, it doesn’t stay that way indefinitely.

  • Start using two-factor authentication
  • A fantastic security measure that is definitely worth the hassle of setting up. Several services now offer two-factor authentication to protect yourself from a remote hack.

    Google offers two-factor authentication with a handy Google Authenticator app that automatically generates unique codes on your tablet or smart phone.

  • Make those password recovery questions tricky
  • Everyone knows your maiden name or your husband’s date of birth. And even if they don’t, those answers are pretty easy to find out with some basic snooping.

    Go for something that’s more subjective, a favorite teacher or best childhood friend. That way, even if someone was familiar with all the names of your high school faculty, they still wouldn’t know which one was your top teach.

    Keep em’ guessing!


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