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What Good is Security if You Almost Give Away the Info?

I just finished a rather unsettling TED talk (00:12:00) about Stalkerware.  What is that you say?  Well it’s programs that allow someone to view everything on a device of another person.  Scary?

Well, there’s more to it and it’s just about as bad.  Watch: Stalkerware   The stalker does need to, physically, get to the device, but that’s not as hard as you think.  Watch it, I am going to continue.

One of the first things she talks about is passwords.  I have written about this before, but it bears going through again.  Even I have learned things on this very subject.

  1. Use Very strong passwords for each account.
  2. Use a Unique password for each account.
  3. Use Secondary measures (like phones calls before allowing entry) for passwords.
  4. Keep passwords Safe.

Okay, 4 steps. Number 4 should be obvious.  If you write your passwords down, hide it well.  Don’t keep a list or even type a list on your computer. This is one time when pencil and paper win.

If you type something on your computer and erase it, people can still get it back in most cases.

Now, there are 2 things I hear over and over about passwords:  1.  People use the same password on multiple accounts.  2. People don’t want to take the time or energy to make unique strong passwords.  There is also the matter of changing your passwords every 30 days.  At least, make sure you change them several times a year and that they are strong each time.

Now, making a strong password is time consuming and hard work – I think that getting all of your information stolen and your accounts broken into will make MORE work!

A strong password:

  1. 12 or more characters
  2. Don’t repeat a password – EVER!
  3. Don’t pick something simple.  Somewhere they did a study and found that a big percentage of system Admins had the password God1234 as their password!
  4. Don’t follow a pattern that is easily figured out.  test1234TEST is 12 non=-repeating characters, bad choice!
  5. Make certain to use  at least 1 Capital Letter, 1 Lower-case Letter, 1 Number, 1 special symbol (like (,),!,#,$,%,,<,>).
  6. Dont’ use names, dates, or words for passwords unless you really mix it up (see below).
  7. Remember this:  NO password or device is entirely unbreakable.  If they want to get in, they can.  Your job is too make it difficult enough that they don’t want to bother.

So, an example:

Take the words and page number from a book.     “Sally and Henry talked all night.”  page 175

Now, use every other letter and number.    “SlynHnyakdlngt7”

Now, change some letters to Numbers “51nHnyakd1ngt7”

Now, alternate Capitals / Lower-cases.  “51nHnYkD1nGt7”

Change 1 number and 1 letter to 2 specials.   “5#nHnYkD1*Gt7”

Now, take odds and evens and write them separately.   “5nnk1G7” and “#HYD*t”

Last step, write them both backwards and put together:    “7G1knn5” and “t*DYH#”  —>  7G1knn5t*DYH#

That is a good strong Password!

Thanks for your time.  I hope I helped.  I know it is hard.  I have approximately 37 accounts and each has a password this difficult or better.

A word on secondary securities.  Anyone may be able to guess security answers if you use ones a lot of people (say, Facebook) know.

So, I get around this as follows:  Example.  “Name of City You were born in?”  Answer: 137

Don’t use the real answer or anything close to it.  “School you graduated from”  Elvis Presley

Get the idea? Thought you would.  I, actually, set one up on a site with some help from the “security” person.

“The Name of your Sister”   Answer I gave (example):  Indianapolis

Her response was: “well, that’s not a correct answer!”    Duh?

Just think of what any account could do to you or cost you.  Definitely worth the time and trouble.

Namaste,

Scott

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