Monday, October 19, 2009

A Public Service Announcement Regarding Email

In under two weeks two people who I regularly correspond with via email have been hacked. In one case an urgent plea for money went out to all those on the hacked email list. Hacking is an unfortunate byproduct of living in a technological world.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself. For one thing, report the hacking to your email provider. For another, change your passwords regularly--every 4-6 weeks. I know, changing those passwords is a pain in the patoot. And remembering all those passwords is also frustrating. However, better safe than sorry. Other tips given out from my email provider: don't keep a list of your passwords in a file in your computer, and don't recycle those passwords every other month. Another important tip: don't use the same password that you use for your email as the password for other accounts that you may have online. Finally, make those passwords as long as allowed by your email provider, and make them a combination of numbers and letters, including capital and lower case letter combinations.


Ruth said...

You might want to add that people should not use the exact same password for all their accounts--steal one and you get them all.

Anonymous said...

Helpful hint someone gave me once for passwords. There are 2 main problems with passwords:

1. You can't use the same one for each site

2. Using different passwords is difficult since it's hard to remember them so people end up using simple, easy to break passwords.


1. Come up with a "base password" that has a combination of letters and numbers. It can be something random (better) or even something personal and easier to remember. For example, say "home47" if the street address of your home is 47.

2. For each website that requires a password pick 2-4 letters that remind you of the site. For your bank, it can be "bank" or the name or initials of the bank - anything easy to remember.

3. Capitalize the letters from #2 and add them on to the front of #1, so your bank password is BANKhome47.

This gives you a long password (harder break), that has capitals, non-capitals, and numbers, that is different for each site, easier to remember, and more random. Plus, it gives you a formula for each site - cellphone site can be CELLhome47, loan site can be LOANhome47.

Feel free to use the system or some variation on the theme.

ProfK said...

Just an interesting note: the person who was hacked two days ago didn't just have one account hacked--he had three. And the portal of entry was through his Facebook page/account. I posted in August about being careful about information put on Facebook--even pages that supposedly can only be accessed by your friends who have the password are not safe to a determined/skillful hacker.