A Nation of Unlocked Doors, Digitally-Speaking

We’ve all heard the stories about the Norman Rockwell days of yore, when people never locked their houses and left the keys in the ignitions of their parked cars.  How quaintly unimaginable all that seems today.

And yet a recent study from security software manufacturer Imperva claims that 20% of all web users choose simple, easily-guessed passwords to protect their data.  The top five from a list of 32 million stolen by a hacker last week and briefly posted on the net?

  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. password
  5. iloveyou

Ruh-roh.  With automation, hackers can try the top hundred passwords in less than thirty-seconds, and suddenly have access to all your precious data, which in my case, largely amounts to disorganized contact lists and old Molly Hatchet mp3’s.

Look, I’m notorious in the office IT ranks for my steadfast refusal to change my password but since I’ve yet to find mine on any of these lists, I’ll take shallow consolation from that and keep putting “Flirting With Disaster” at risk.

When it comes to passwords, longer is better and multiple versions are better.  That said, as I recently learned from a brain supplement ad, cognitive brain function diminishes with age, so you gotta be careful how crazy you go in pursuit of security.

Sure you can write them all down…but where do you stash that list?

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


One thought on “A Nation of Unlocked Doors, Digitally-Speaking

  1. I know this was a tongue-in-cheek post, but as an IT geek myself I can’t resist the opportunity to educate.

    In short, password rules are fairly simple:
    *Longer is GENERALLY better
    *avoid words found in a dictionary
    *avoid obvious/easily guessed stuff like names, pets, birthdays, etc.
    * caps, numbers, punctuation helps too!

    It may SEEM complicated, but doesn’t have to be!

    Here’s what I do:
    pick a PHRASE, or SENTENCE.
    Swap out symbols for vowels – a=@, e=3, i=!, o=0(zero) & u=%. Otherwise, just follow standard punctuation rules!

    Thus, “Iloveyou” becomes “! l0v3 y0%.” – which is a pretty good password!

    Other substitutions can add complexity and are obvious…

    “! #@+3 +#!$ p@$$vv0rd $#!+”

    is a VERY strong pass-phrase, and VERY easy to remember!

    HTH!

    DD

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