|In this Jan. 10, 2002, file photo, a computer screen shows a password attack in progress at the Norwich University computer security training program in Northfield, Vt. (Photo: By Toby Talbot, AP)|
USA Today reported yesterday that almost 2 million accounts on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and other social media and Internet sites have been breached. The hacking began Oct. 21 and might still be taking place, according to CNN.
In compiling data on the mass hacking, cyber-security company Trustwave discovered that many users are doing just what computer specialists advise against – using simplistic passwords that can easily be guessed.
For instance, the top five passwords Trustwave found in researching the breaches were: 123456, 123456789, 1234, password and 12345!
I bet some of those ridiculously insecure passwords were used by some otherwise very intelligent people, including ham radio operators and SKYWARN spotters.
I hope you are not one of them. But I know a lot of ham radio operators whose Yahoo accounts have been hacked over the past couple of years. How do I know? Because after the hacker took over, I got email from the hacked accounts.
So, even if you’ve chosen passwords for your Yahoo, Google, Facebook or other accounts that you think are more secure than “12345,” now would be a very good time to change to even more secure passwords.
Microsoft has a good Web page on how to create secure passwords. The page includes a link to a tool with which you can test your existing or potential passwords for strength.
You can also use an online password generator (like this one from computer security vendor Norton) to help you create a truly strong and random password.
Remember, the mass account hacking is probably still going on right now, so don’t wait. Improve your passwords today, before your Yahoo or Gmail account starts sending me spam!