It’s Change Your Password Day!

After getting indirectly attacked in December Gizmodo has declared Feb 1st as change your password day today, a day to scratch our heads and rattle out new, complicated passwords for all of our online accounts. Which is a great idea. So tomorrow while we’re trying to remember our shiny new passwords we’ll be wondering why we bothered to change them in the first place.

I know that when I have to change a password it seems so unimportant, I mean; I’ve already got a password, and it’s been working just fine. Why should I get a new one? Although it seems unimportant, a secure password is the first step to keeping your identity safe. It’s also a great way to keep tabs on which websites actually have access to your personal information. Especially if you’ve only used a site once, but maybe you used the same password from another account tied to that same email address. We’ve all seen our friends on Facebook get “hacked” usually as a joke, but it brings up a big question. “How secure is my password?” or “How many accounts have this password and email address combo?”. Most of us only use one email address, because keeping up with several can be frustrating. However, nothing’s more frustrating than finding out someone who just stole your Facebook password could now go buy themselves something nice with your credit card from some other site.
A secure password typically involves most of your keyboard, upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols or punctuation. Passwords don’t have to be long to be secure, but typically shorter passwords are the ones that give hackers easier access to our data.

It’s also easy to forget that we’re not the only ones who have our passwords, within the past year we’ve seen several major organizations go through network security compromise. The PSN was one, hackers gained access to email addresses, home addresses, passwords, and names of its users. It’s not just individuals that are targeted, on April 13th hackers broke into WordPress’ servers and although no statement was released, it’s possible that they made off with the passwords to over 20 million blogs. (Here’s the article) Hackers aren’t only acquiring our data for their use, in December when Gawker was attacked and data was stolen it was released as a torrent, filled with email addresses and passwords. (As reported by the NY Times) Of course Gawker ( a parent company of Gizmodo) recommended that it’s users change their passwords for its site. They also made the point that people tend to use the same password for more than one thing. Not only does that mean that those hackers released the data from Gawker, but that they potentially had access to people’s other online accounts that required an email address and password to log in.

While using the same password for several services is easy, since remembering one password is easier than remembering two or three, it makes someone who’s trying to get your info’s job easier. There are password keepers for those of us with terrible memories, although using a cloud based service for password storage is a little redundant. A small notepad at your house may be a good idea but there are also apps for password keepers that have their own locks within the app that are pretty user friendly. One app allows you to sync the data with your PC or export it while still keeping it encrypted, making it harder to steal the information. Although if you’re not sending it somewhere your passwords are stored locally on your phone with a password required even after you’ve unlocked the phone, which might be helpful if you don’t have a lock code on your smartphone. ( This is one of the most used password storage Apps, heck, even we use it. And it’s awesome. ) And if you think you’ve got a million passwords let me tell you, I’ve got more. As an IT company we have to be able to access our customer’s websites. So for security every login on every system or website has its own, randomly generated password, some of which seem ridiculous, even to me. Making the password keeper above a life saver, especially when you’ve got passwords like gh1[5lK;rT7i.

Try remembering that at Four in the morning when you’ve finally decided to buy that pretty color changing keyboard.

bog kalmia's comment is:
On June 30, 2014 at 3:38 am

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