Stolen Passwords

Friday, November 13, 2009

When Sarah Palin was running for President in 2008, her password to her Gmail (email) account was stolen. According to the Huffington Post, the hacker that hacked into Palin’s account “guessed that she met her husband in high school and knew Palin's date of birth and home Zip code. Using those details, the hacker tricked Yahoo Inc.'s service into assigning a new password, "popcorn," for Palin's e-mail account, according to a chronology of the crime published on the Web site where the hacking was first revealed.”

In October of this year, AOL News reported the popular free email, Hotmail, had to advise its users to change their passwords after thousands of email account details were posted online in a massive security breach.

The popular social media platform, Twitter, has had multiple scams (these are called “phishing” scams). Accounts can be hacked or “phished” if you click on a link that is supposedly from one of your “friends.” The message from them could say something like “Check out what your IQ is!” It would then have a link to click. Mashable.com, reported last month that a new worm and phishing scam is spreading on Twitter. The message could come from the hacked accounts of "friends you trust" with a short message ("rofl this you on here?") and a URL leading to a replicated Twitter login page, asking for your account info. If you enter your username and password on this page, you will be infected, and your account used to pass on the worm. Now, if this happens, you go in and change your password.

Most people’s passwords are dates or names that mean something to them. Often times, we use the same password for multiple accounts. If a hacker were to find out one, the probability is there that he could hack into other accounts as well. It can be that easy, and there are lessons to be learned all around. How safe are our accounts online? How safe are our children’s passwords online?

This subject is something I would encourage you to speak about with your children and teens, but also keep in mind for yourself. The Internet allows so many positive aspects as far as accessibility and convenience and social interaction. At the same time, we have to be eduacted, safe, and smart when it comes to our personal accounts.  You can monitor your children's accounts with parental control software tools such as McGruff SafeGuard

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posted by Lindsay Manfredi at 8:01 AM Link to this Article

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