Why Passwords Should Look Like This: qDF68~r/84.Wj89.
Cyber Security, High Technology Posted Jun 15, 2016 by Liza Vilnits
When I first started working at CHEN PR I remember being given the passwords to online subscriptions that we share and thinking, “Are they serious? How do they remember all these?” The passwords would basically look like this: fgEw76^.l21\59LQ4~YaY.
I came to CHEN from a non-profit—very far from high-tech and security, to say the least– and password protection had never been something I put much though into. But now, thanks to the industry I’ve been immersed in and the news that clogs my inbox every day, I’ve learned a lot about the risks we can pose to ourselves and to our jobs, as well as the importance of two-factor authentication.
If you’re a techie or a celeb junkie, you likely saw that last week was a big week in the world of social media hacks. It felt like every day a new celebrity was being hacked on Twitter. Some of the most talked about included Keith Richards, Drake, Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner, the NFL, Mark Zuckerberg (who was also hacked on LinkedIn and Pinterest), and others. These celebs experienced Twitter accounts plagued by fake death announcement and vulgar, sexual content (talk about a PR nightmare).
We feel for the PR teams and our brethren scrambling in the aftermath, but I was just happy to hear that Jack Black was still alive.
Naturally for some, the first reaction is that these people are celebrities and thus “it won’t happen to me,” but that is wrongheaded thinking. Many have surmised that these hacks were related to the recent LinkedIn and MySpace data dumps which included a combined 527 million compromised accounts! If you were lucky enough to not be affected, you’re still likely active on other social accounts and if you use the same username/password tandem on multiple accounts (admit it), you’re at risk.
There are a few quick and simple things you should do to make sure, as John Brandon of Inc. puts it, you don’t “Mark Zuckerberg” your account:
- If you’ve never checked if you’ve been a victim of a data breach, that’s a good place to start. Visit Have I Been Pwned to find out;
- Question yourself about the difficulty of the passwords your use. Passwords like “123456” or “password” continue to be used and, at this point, you’re basically asking for it;
- We’re all guilty of it, but try not to use one universal password for all of your accounts; and,
- Use two-factor authentication (usually found in the Privacy Settings section of an account) to double-down on security.
I’ve come a long way in my understanding of how to be engaged on social (or online in general) in a secure manner but unfortunately for many who aren’t quite immersed in the world of firewalls, behavioral analytics, malware, phishing and cybersecurity, they may not realize the weight of their actions. All we can do is spread our knowledge and emphasize education, one celebrity examples at a time.