Thursday, January 26, 2012

Passwords

So, I have two passwords that I use for pretty much every account I have online. I've had them for years, and I never change them. Well, my Facebook account somehow got hacked last week and sent out spammy messages, and Jason's email was hacked this week and did the same thing. So, I'm about to begin the arduous process of changing all my passwords to different, new, secure passwords that aren't the same for every account under the sun.

Consumer Reports (my faaaaavorite) did an article in January's issue about how to "hack proof" your passwords. Their recommendations are:
  • Don't use the same password twice (whoops)
    • It's okay, though, "to use a similar character pattern from site to site, varying part of it in a way that's intuitive to you but not obvious to anyone else."
  • Make them strong
    • Use at least eight characters
    • Have at least one uppercase, one lowercase, one number, and one special character (sounds like a pain, but if it keeps your accounts secure, I guess it's worth it)
  • Avoid the obvious
    • Don't use things they could find out, like your birthday or your child's name
    • Avoid obvious patterns like starting with the uppercase
  • Keep them safe and up-to-date
    • Don't keep passwords or clues in an insecure place
    • If you store them on your computer, use an encryption software like KeePass (which is free, so I think I'm going to try it out)
  • Have security software on your computer (and keep that up-to-date, too)

I just checked my security software (Symantec, which BYU students can get for free) as I was writing this blog post, and realized its virus definitions haven't been updated in a long time. So that's updating now, too! I just put it on a scheduled automatic update, so it'll update once a month.

Anyway, that's what I'm up to today!

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