Sadly, one of my clients (identity withheld for privacy reasons) recently had a Hotmail email account hacked into. The hacker guessed the account password.
By reading emails in the account, the hacker discovered other websites often visited. What made the whole scenario worse was that the person used the same password on just about every website they needed to provide login details on.
You can imagine the nightmare that followed. Helping clean up this mess took hours of work by having to log into multiple websites to change passwords, secret question and answer challenges entered for password recovery and checking online bank details.
The only saving grace was that the problem was discovered quickly and before any money was stolen, but identity theft is now a serious concern as the hacker will have many details not normally made publically available.
So how do you protect yourself from that happening to you?
Well, the best solution imo is at the bottom of this post, however that said;
Note that it doesn’t have to be an online email account – hackers use automatic password guessing tools to try and hack into all types of websites all the time.
Here’s some tips on protecting yourself..
- Never use an easy to guess password. The name of your dog, cat or other pet is just asking for trouble, as is using your home street name, favourite football team or including your date of birth in a password
- Never use a word that can be found in a dictionary for your password – these are the first things that automated password crackers check and it takes them only a few minutes to try many thousands of words. Just using Caps or the number zero instead of the letter “o” in a password won’t help either. It’s a trick automatic password cracking software took into account years ago
- Do use Strong passwords and commit them to memory. Just like the PIN on your ATM card, it’s never a good idea to write your passwords down anywhere
To check the strength of your password(s) – Here’s a few sites that will tell you how strong those password(s) are;
Finally, never, ever use the same password on more than one website. That way, if you are unfortunate enough to be hacked online, at least the damage will be minimised to one site
I can hear you all now..
All of that is fine and well.. but how in the world is a normal human being supposed to remember a myriad of passwords, especially strong ones that can’t easily be guessed or cracked with automatic hacking tools? Well, the answer is actually quite simple..
Use a good, strong and trusted password manager!
You then need only commit ONE strong Master Password and allow the password manager to remember all your others. Then you can have passwords like “R%Ymdg&*%<!” and never need to remember them
There’s quite a few password managers around and though I’ve tried several, my own favourite is RoboForm Desktop – very (a pittance for the protection it provides) affordable and (at time of writing) is at Version 7.
It uses very strong encryption algorithms to protect your information, has been absolutely reliable in the 2 or more years that I’ve personally used it, has gotten great reviews and best of all, if my computer was to crash, I can retrieve all my login details and passwords in minutes from the RoboForm Online Server. And no, the guys who run RoboForm’s Online Server can’t see my passwords without knowing my Master Password either.
To take a look at this great little utility, which is available for both Windows and Macintosh computers, as well as Mobile devices like IPads or IPhones, click on this link..
It’s 100% Free to try, very easy to use and affordable!
Purchasing the desktop version is only a once off $29.95 payment.
Purchasing multiple copies for more than one computer makes the price per copy even cheaper.
Don’t take my word for it.. check it out for yourself.
Till the next time…