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Not another password x%*!

By   /   January 22, 2010  /   Comments

Do we really have to have passwords? Why so many and does it have to be so complicated? Listen, I know it’s a pain and it’s a shame that we need passwords, but such is the cyber world we live in. There are hackers on the Web that have nefarious reasons to get into our PCs. We’re all familiar with ID theft and the like. There are also hackers who do things to our PCs just for fun and they can have equally devastating results.

Remember Samy Kamkar, the 19 year old hacker who shut down Facebook back in 2005 with what he thought was an innocent hack to get people to sign him on as a hero? He’s now warning that there are easy ways to hack into personal routers that we think are protecting our PCs. We are especially vulnerable if we use a router (most any brand) with its default settings.

We need to keep miscreants out of our routers and out of our PCs. Setting security IDs and passwords can help us do this. Remember if you are using a wireless router you are exposing yourself to intrusion by neighbors and by persons driving by your house.

Teenage boys are especially inquisitive when they see an open, unprotected wireless network in range of their router. If you are running an open wireless network, it is even possible for someone to break in and set a password so you might be excluded from your own network. Minor inconveniences you say, but malevolent hackers could exploit the same vulnerabilities to steal your personal identity or take over your PC for other purposes.

Some of the passwords that you use for various Internet site access may not be real important, but there are a few that are vital to your security. You should protect your router, your PC and your personal banking access with strong passwords. If you use your Laptop on the road, you want to be extra careful in case your PC is stolen. Not that a password couldn’t be hacked by an expert, but most thieves won’t go to that much trouble.

I know you were going to ask, “Can I use the same password for all my secured hardware?” Do that only if you want to make it easy for the bad guys!

Microsoft has some comprehensive info about choosing passwords and even a password checker at: http://tinyurl.com/yaej5yu

Their suggestions about creating strong passwords are:” It should be at least 14 characters long. It should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols.” It’s not really that difficult to meet those requirements if you use some easy to remember system. For example start with the first letters of a sentence that you have memorized (Maybe a Bible Scripture or the first line of a poem for example). Add some numbers and symbols and you’re there!

jimhallWritten by Jim Hall. Email your questions to geekspeak@mchsi.com . You can find Jim online at HallsTrainingSolutions.com

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