I want to quickly touch on passwords without sounding like an IT training session. I know we’ve all been told about using strong passwords, and how the company is going to buckle to its knees if we don’t (true story though). I don’t have to go down this road, as I’m sure in the corporate landscape you have an IT team telling you this all the time – I do want to mention it from a personal perspective though.
The things I hear the most are – “I have nothing to hide” and “Why would anybody want my identity?” Although this may be true that you have absolutely nothing in this world but your Facebook account, and your life is an open book, but … is your grandmother’s life an open book? do your parents have something of value they don’t want to lose?
In the modern world, security breaches are not some kid hacker breaking into Fort Knox. A security breach can be somebody stealing your email account to ask your parents to wire money because you are in a Turkish prison. When your parents try to call you they get no answer, because the email thief waited until you told everybody on Facebook you were about to go for your scuba lesson. Now in a blind panic your parents have no choice but to wire the $10,000 you need. However, they just gave away $10k to the person(s) that hijacked your email account.
This is the reality of an unassuming account being very dangerous in the wrong hands, as well as the reality of pointless status updates on social media.
The other thing people have mentioned to me is that they only use email for “stupid places that need an email account to sign up”. Be that as it may, email is usually the one form of account verification most places still use to this day. So, using a password like “Password”, because you don’t like the inconvenience of typing in a real password leaves your account a target to be stolen easily. From here, the thief could perform the $10k thing mentioned above, or change all the passwords of your social media accounts and in effect – steal those accounts as well. If you’ve never had this happen, we all know at least one person who has. How many times have we seen “new account, add me back”
I will cover decent passwords in another post. I wanted to get this out there for awareness more than anything. Ignorance is bliss – unless it involves passwords – then ignorance can be very painful!