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Your Passwords Probably Suck!!!

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Friday, 12 November 2010

Add a New Line On Your Business Card…Hack Me!!!

We’re so proud of some of the folks out there in the online world.

They were one of the first in line at the Apple store to get an iPhone.

First again to get an iPad.

Probably have your order in for a Mac Air.

You’ve put them to great use with your personal and company Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube pages.

You’ve got your own blog that “someone” reads.

You Twitter constantly – in the office, in the bathroom, on a night out, yes even when you get lucky.

No wonder you have so many followers (they used to be known as stalkers but whatever floats your boat).

Looking around for new arenas to mine it’s only natural that folks like marketing, communications, publicity people were some of the first to claim their corner of the Cloud.

Truth is IT folks don’t like you very much.

You’re not doing them any favors by using your own devices for business because they have a tough enough job protecting the company’s IP (intellectual property).

Your device is just a partially unlocked door to the company’s family jewels…and yours.

Let’s start with the brutal basics…your passwords probably suck!!!

Don’t think so?  

According to a recent Web study, here are the 20 most popular passwords (the ones hackers try first):
        - 123456                  - 12345                    - 123456789             - password
        - ilove you                - princess      - rockyou                  - 1234567
        - 12345678              - abc123                  - Nicole                    - Daniel
        - babygirl                  - monkey                  - Jessica                    - lovely
        - Michael                  - Ashley                    - 654321                   - qwerty

If yours isn’t on the top 20 list don’t look so smug.

Hackers also love the places you hang out know Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube.

There are so many fish in one small barrel.  

And your anemic passwords?

They’ve got systems that can fire thousands of password guesses a minute.

They also:
-          use brute force based on your public info like family names, birthdays, info you spread around the web
-          generate guess answers to password-reset questions like 25 random things about you – mother’s maiden name, place of birth, color of first car, wife’s/kids’ names
-          create a word list based on your profile web pages, postings

Human nature says that the more sites you use the simpler you make your passwords so…you can remember them.

Gawd you just make the thief’s job too easy!

Sure the sites do some basic stuff but if you read the fine print your security is your responsibility.

Don’t give us the line that all of your devices are from Apple and their stuff just doesn’t get hacked.

The next thing you’ll tell us is that their systems don’t crash!

Persistent SOBs
Hackers, cyberthieves go after big targets and Jobs series of CE (consumer electronics) winners just make their mouths water.  The new device users:
-          are working (have an income/bank account)
-          are generally active in the social media (lots of added links/targets)
-          are a “little cocky” – come on you’re a fanboy/girl

Won’t die on the sword for Steve but still have a great smartphone you’re using for … everything?

Oh yeah just another worthy target!

Ok so you sorta, kinda know it could be a problem but a recent Ponomon Institute study found that only 28 percent of the users have serious concerns.

Funny think was folks were more concerned about being hit with more ads (60%) than revealing secrets (50%) or having your identity stolen (21%).

Gimme a break folks…protect the company/personal info first!

We realize that remembering all those mind-bending passwords is a pain but  think of it as mental exercise to put off Alzheimer’s.

Use a Tool
Or…use a password manager.

No not the one in your web browser…there’s an app for password management!

Actually quite a few…some are free, some cost a few bucks.

These products store all of your logins and passwords, usually encrypted, so you can paste them into the form (some will load automatically for you).

The neat thing is they not only protect you but they free up your mind for important work.  They let you get rid of  all of the Post Its on your terminal and little notes to yourself in your pocket.

If you’re not willing or able to do these few things for your company and yourself then at least get new business cards and update your online profile and add…Hack Me!!!

It’s the least you can do for all the poor, hungry hackers, cybercriminals, script kiddies.
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