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Thursday, December 29, 2011

PC Security Failure Could Cost You Dearly - Are You Guilty As Charged?

PC Security Failure Could Cost You Dearly

Are You Guilty As Charged?

By Dell Hill

We’re all guilty as charged.  Well, most of us, anyway.  I dare say the vast majority of us break several rules when it comes to computer security and I can personally vouch for the fact that’s true, based on the number of calls I’ve handled over the past ten years to “come fix my puter”.

In an effort to get online quickly, and without any hassle, we often have software that saves our password and inserts it at the appropriate time.  We’re just too lazy to type it out.  We do exactly the same thing for password required web sites - including online banking accounts, along with various sites we use regularly to purchase “stuff”.

Not good.

Here’s an update on the “dos” and “donts” on password security, nicely packaged at Future Pundit.

Thinking About Better Passwords

With identity theft and account hijacking a rampant problem think about raising the toughness of your online passwords to a higher level of obscurity.  At home this is especially difficult for some of us due to the much larger number of home passwords (multiple financial accounts, multiple email addresses, multiple online store accounts, home utility accounts, and more - dozens for me).  How to do this?  Dennis O'Reilly has a useful article "How to master the art of passwords" with some controversial advice:

Gunter Ollman, a researcher for security firm Damballa, concludes that recording your passwords on paper is the lesser of several password evils; more risky is using the same password at multiple sites, setting your software to remember passwords, failing to change passwords frequently, using an easy-to-guess password, and reusing past passwords.

Likewise, computer expert Bruce Schneier reiterated on his Schneier on Security blog the advice of Microsoft executive Jesper Johansson to record your passwords on paper to encourage use of strong passwords.”

Read the entire post by clicking right here.

Dell’s Bottom Line:  Of late, I’m hearing far too many horror stories about computers being “hacked”, and the main reason is the failure of the operator (us!) in creating and using passwords that are strong and actually do what they’re designed to do.  Strong password usage, combined with reliable, updated security software, can prevent the nightmarish consequences of your computer being hacked.

Just a friendly reminder to all.


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