I wrote a post recently to remind myself to be mindful of becoming a broken record. How many of us were repeatedly instructed to brush your teeth before going to bed. How long did that record play before you realized there was sound reasoning behind the repetition? However, I bet there are plenty who refuse to conform to proper hygiene. It is the sensible thing to do, yet many do not.
Unfortunately, many will read this post and recognize they are guilty of weak password protection. Moreover, despite the media attention to security breaches including the recent alleged attacks by China on Google’s e-mail service, Gmail. Many will only consider it white noise and miss the importance of how vulnerable our personal identifiable information is while stored in many databases worldwide on the Internet. Too many red flags are being dismissed.
Twenty per cent of Web users are not brushing their teeth, and are screaming out over the Internet…Hack me! Whatever the excuse, not taking the time to use a good solid password will leave you and your family constantly vulnerable to hacks and the likely loss of personal identifiable information, which may easily lead to Identity Theft.
Your personal information as well as your digital persona is stored everywhere on databases, which are all accessible through the Internet. For example, RockYou.com widgets that provide information for applications on partner sites like Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, Friendster, Bebo, etc., were breeched. One of Rock You databases containing 32 million unencrypted users and passwords were illegally breached. Hope you have a new strong password in place.
One of Rock You’s data bases were breached exposing 32 million individual private records. Upon further investigation of the 32 million records, investigators uncovered that 20 percent picked from the same pool of five thousand common passwords.
Remember, computers were not designed with security in mind they were designed for processing. Moreover, when it comes to running a specific software program designed to uncover a password, it is not a cumbersome slow process as you might think. The processing speed to run a massive number of password combinations before your password is cracked is only a push of a button, and is effortless for the hacker.
Remember too, the complacency individuals’ exhibit when creating strong passwords, which further indicates their lack of understanding about the importance of strong passwords. It was discovered by researchers that one percent of the 32 million individuals exposed by the Rock You database breach, used “123456” as a password. How much easier do you want to make it for the cybercriminals to hack you? That was an extra 320,000 computers on the black market, possibly under the control of a “botnet” and if not, they belong to the hacker.
Consequently, cybercriminals are well aware of the lack of willingness individuals have when choosing convenience over security. Therefore, many complacent individuals are the low-lying fruit, easy pickings for hackers. Stronger passwords are less likely to be cracked because they require more effort. Ironic, it works both ways, why would a cybercriminal waste any effort to crack a difficult password when there are so many easier ones available with a lot less effort. From the perspective of the hacker, his program would include the most popular passwords known – low hanging fruit.
Either way you will be better off having a rock solid password for all your password-protected sites, also check into managed PC security services.
david c ballard
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- As easy as ABC! Hackers reveal easy-to-crack passwords (guardian.co.uk)
- RockYou Hacked. Some 30 million passwords in the wild [Security] (ghacks.net)
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