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Everything is hackable, it’s just a matter of time say the experts. Hackers now use ‘brute force’ meaning that they systematically check all possible passwords and keys until the right one is found.

Picture this scenario; Susie leaves her purse on the front seat of her car while she runs into the preschool to pick up her child. Mary takes her purse with her into the preschool. Opportunist Purse Thief is looking in the windows of the cars in the parking lot and he breaks Susie’s window and steals her purse because she made it easy for him whereas Mary did not. In cyberspace if Susie has an easy password like her child’s name and Mary has a hard one that she got from a password generator, then Hacker is going to hack Susie’s account because she made it easy for him.

Why make it easy for the hackers to get into your accounts?

It is recommended that you periodically change your passwords to your various accounts and to make them strong passwords to avoid being the victim of hacking.
Microsoft’s recommendations for creating a strong password are;
o Make it at least eight characters long, but longer is better.
o Do not use your real name or company name.
o It shouldn’t contain a complete word.
o Make sure it is completely different from previous passwords.
o Use characters that include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols found on the keyboard such as #$^*, etc..

Another recommendation is to use the first letters of a phrase and make small changes. For example, if you insist on using your child’s name and birth date then think of it this way; “my son Bobby’s birthday is August 3, 1998”. The password would then be msBbiA31998, but make small changes such as making the i an exclamation point and the eight a dollar sign so that it now looks like msBb!A3199$.

It’s not so easy to make them up yourself so there are a few password generators out there that do it for you such as Axantum, and it’s free!

It’s also recommended that you make all of your passwords different. In other words, don’t use the same one for each of your accounts. If someone hacks into one of your accounts then they can assume that that password may work in your other accounts because they know that we think it’s a lot of work to make up different passwords for different accounts. If you use the same password for your email that you use for your bank account, for example, then you’re just making it easy for the hacker to move onto all of your accounts.

Keeping track of all of the different passwords is a job in itself and probably the issue that we worry about more. Some of the members of Women with CLASS use a recipe box to hold written passwords. Others use a flash drive and still others use secure password keepers which are great because then you only have to remember one password to get to all of the others. A couple of those recommended are Keeper and Robo Form

Change your passwords and keep your information safe!

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