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Monday, July 2, 2012

Passwords, pa$$word$, bloody hell ********s!

Okay, so a few weeks ago LinkedIn got hacked, and the hackers got access to the passwords of hundreds of thousands of users.

As you can see from the linked article, users whose passwords were accessed were supposed to get an email notifying them of the breach.  I didn't get this email, probably because I wasn't using one of the more common password combinations.  But I went ahead and changed my password anyway, which is advisable in a situation like this, and also changed the password on most of my other online accounts.  It's good practice to do that occasionally, and I don't do it enough. Also, I had fallen into the habit (perhaps you the reader - I think I have at least one reader :-) - has also fallen into this habit) of making many of my passwords similar or the same, so if a hacker figured out one, they might easily figure out others.

When I changed my passwords, I abandoned that habit, so that none of them were so similar as to give any of the others away.  And I did a pretty good job. Too good.The problem I'm having now is that I can't remember what some of them are!!! Oy!

Remember back in the "old days" when the only online password you had was to your AOL account?  Or maybe your work email or your work network?  Those days are sooooooooo over.  I must have at LEAST 30 different personal online accounts that require passwords. And the older I get, the harder it is to just pull up a password from my memory banks and send it flying through my fingers to the keyboard.  Thus the sloppy habit of similar passwords.

And you can't fall for the trap of just letting your computer "remember" your passwords for you, either.  Why? Because, if a worm doesn't hack your hard drive, or a hacker doesn't get in through a breach in your firewall, or someone doesn't steal your laptop and hack your hard drive, you could also have a hard drive crash and lose the data that way, or your backup drive could crash.  And so on... So, instead you should probably write them down, but where? And then you have to keep that written record updated with every change.  And it has to be with you but not obviously a password list, or at least, the account for each password can't be obvious. So, what, code words for each account and you have to remember the code word?