During the last year there have been some fairly high profile ‘thefts’ of Usernames and Passwords.
Some of the ‘hacks’ we are referring to have taken some time to be announced. Invariably your account has been safe and you were simply prompted to set a new password, without being told why.
In the last couple of months the hackers who stole these usernames and passwords have been actively trying to use this information against LOTS of different companies, working on the premise that we are all so lazy we use the same details for everything. Does this sound like you? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
So what passwords should you change? Well, as much of a nuisance as it seems, you should change all of them! Yes, sounds awful, but it really is a good time to do it now.
This leads to two questions: how do I record them all and what should I change it to?
The former has a fairly ordinary answer, which is to write them down. Now, don’t put them in a red book with “Passwords” on the front, which lives on the left hand side of your desk. That’s not very subtle. A sheet of paper kept inside something like the yellow pages or a favourite cook book or something like that should do. It’s simple and discreet and not obvious to someone who might break in hoping to find some ‘useful’ information.
Of course, you could use passwords that do not need to be written down, but are ‘strong’ based on the following suggestion: take an easy to remember password e.g. dogsname2012 then add an !, as so many passwords require a ‘special character’ to be included, followed by what it relates to e.g. AMAZON, HOTMAIL or DIRECTLINE. So, your new password might look something like rufus2012!SAINSBURYS or rufus2012!ITUNES or rufus2012!GMAIL. This also deals with the question of ‘what password do I use’.