Sunday, March 11, 2012
Managing Your Passwords in 2012
It seems like every month, a handful of companies disclose that their user database has been hacked, informing you that you should change your password and monitor your credit card statements for strange activity.
In late 2010, popular blogs Gawker and Gizmodo were hacked and their databases were posted online. In 2011 there was another security breach that affected millions of users.
When news broke of the Gawker attack, I searched the actual database that was posted online, and sure enough, there was my email and my favorite password at the time, listed in plain text for the entire Internet to see.
I did some common password searches, just out of curiosity. You’d be surprised at the number of people who use “password”, or even “ABCDE” or “1234” as their password. It was staggering, to say the least. Now, I know, these were probably mostly throwaway passwords, right? I really hope so.
Next, I set about changing my own passwords at every site I could think of. Before long I had set a new password for my accounts after a lot of crossed fingers that I still had access to my email account, but I was still using the same basic passwords almost everywhere because I wanted to remember them. I knew I wasn’t supposed to, but I did it anyway, because I was lazy--there, I said it!
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