Every week we learn of websites being compromised by hackers who then gain access to sensitive data including usernames and passwords.  How safe are you?

Apparently most of us have three passwords -- one for generally logins for sites containing nothing too sensitive (forums, etc); one for email type services (including Social Networking) and a more secure one for online banking.  Often the only reason we have a more secure password is because the Banks force us.

More worrying, a recent study suggested 73% of people only have one password for everything!

Granted, it is easier to use the same password (or a few passwords) for all your sites but it does open you to a far greater risk.  Ask yourself .... if a hacker discovers your forum password will that also give them access to your email? If they get access to your email they may be able to reset your on-line banking password!

Few people realise you can be hacked quite easily on your home PC!  How many of you make use of the handy browser tool that asks if you want to save your password?  Yeah, sounds great; next time you visit the website it fills in the password for you.

Did you know that almost all web browsers do not safely store these passwords?  A quick Google will find you a tool to display all your saved login IDs and password for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox.

To get this list of passwords someone needs access to your PC but that could be as simple as the local repair shop fixing something, or a 'friend' installing some software for you.

The moral of the story is simple -- DO NOT use the password managers in ANY browser.  Turn it off in the settings.

Here are a few sensible tips:

  • Do not use single words
  • Do not use names of people or pets
  • Use a longer password -- maybe 10 characters or more
  • Use punctuation and upper/lower case combinations
  • If you do re-use passwords, make sure your email and banking are very different and both are equally strong

This site attempts to suggest how strong your password is... www.passwordmeter.com

Google 'password tips' for lots more information.

Keep safe!

site by DAJ