The results for my most-used email address. Oh, no!
One of my geeky Email newsletters contained a story the other day that brought me up short and may give you pause -- or worse (see story here).
While the story's slant is toward "enterprise" users -- employees of companies and large organizations -- the issue is one faced by us as individual users also.
Many of the websites on which we maintain accounts (think Amazon, eBay, your favorite department store, your bank, etc.) use a simple formula for logging in to your account: username and password.
In many cases, the default "username" is your email address -- often because that is how the site communicates with you about the status of your orders, accounts, etc.
The password is of your own devising, but some passwords are better than others. I hope none of my readers uses "9999" or "1234" as passwords (these go back to the earliest days of personal computers and are so 20th century). Just as bad are your SS#, and your birthday, anniversary or some other date.
Much better is to use a combination of letters and numbers. The article suggests adding in symbols ($, #, *, etc.) as a way of strengthening your passwords.
Also -- and you have heard this many times before, but it bears repeating -- use different passwords for different accounts, and change your passwords periodically.
Most modern browsers will store your passwords on a site-by-site basis, so you don't have to keep a list somewhere.
However, there are password managers that can be downloaded and will do the job for you. See a review of 2019's top ten password managers here.
How scary is all this?
One security website, Have I Been Pwned, has a database of nearly 773 MILLION email addresses that have been hacked, plus 21 MILLION passwords.
I suggest you visit the site and check for yourself if your email(s) or password(s) have been hacked.
The search is lightning fast -- I had barely hit the "enter" key than my result was returned.
The bad news: several of the email addresses I use have been hacked.
As for passwords, my most common password has been hacked, but two others that I use have not.
Moral of the story: It pays to have several passwords, to make them complex, and to change them periodically.
I urge you to go to the Pwned website (here) and check yourself out.
And then make the changes that will protect you.
-- Dan Damon [follow]
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