Governor Sarah Palin’s Yahoo Email account got hacked. That means someone got into it. Someone who shouldn’t have. And apparently it was relatively easy (especially for someone motivated to do harm) and involved using Yahoo’s password reset feature which asks for such information as your Birthdate.
Lesson 1: Don’t use Email services like Yahoo, Hotmail or GMail for sensitive or business communications! Use a proper Email service…like your Business Email.
When I set-up passwords for my Clients, I usually get a look of disbelief when they see something like “3oL0B~vm$x”. “How am I ever going to remember that?!”
They’d much rather see something simple like “martha”. The problem is that when you use common words for passwords, they can be hacked much easier than “strong passwords”. Strong passwords are ones that are very difficult for humans (and computers!) to figure out. They have:
- at least 6 characters,
- use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters
- don’t repeat characters
- use a combination of upper and lower case characters
Lesson 2: I recommend that you use a separate strong password for everything; don’t re-use the same password.
There are many password utilities available to help you keep secure passwords safe. There is one really handy and FREE utility I use called “LastPass“. Not only will it generate strong passwords for you, you can use it to securely store your passwords too and has awesome integration with your smart phone.