Password Security. What You Need To Know.

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Last week, hackers put up for sale 117 million LinkedIn passwords (with corresponding email combination), 360 million Myspace emails and passwords, and 65 million Tumblr emails and passwords. And that is terrible news for those of us who use the same email and password combinations across different sites.


Security online is just as terrible as security offline. If a thief is determined to break into your house, well, all the security measures and high walls with electrifying curled barb wires won't make it impossible for an expert thief. It will only make it a worthy challenge. For those of us who watch action movies, think Ocean Eleven and Stolen. The same high security that makes some thieves consider breaking into your house a mission impossible is what will motivate some other thieves to want to do it. And that's the very case for online security, except that you are now open not only to local thieves but all thieves across the globe. 

Are we then helpless in securing ourselves (social/email/bank accounts) online? The answer is a sad yes. But we must still give it our best efforts. If you have an account with hundreds of millions of Naira and don't want to fall prey to hackers, the best security measure is to not enable internet banking or mobile banking for that account. Still that doesn't make it 100% secured but close to it. The remainder is in the hands of the bank security/IT team.

However, it is practically impossible to not be online and have online accounts (email accounts, online banking access and social media sites accounts). So what can you do to better secure yourself?

There is a popular saying in the IT security world, "There are only two types of people: those who have been hacked and those who don't know that they've been hacked." Just think about the 117 million accounts on LinkedIn, the 360 Myspace accounts and the 65 million Tumblr accounts, do you think all the people affected will know that they have been hacked? Maybe your LinkedIn account is one of them. Or mine. 

What we can only do is, again, our best. Use a password manager tool like LastPass ( Let it generate very long (at least 16 characters) passwords for your accounts. And it will generate different passwords for different accounts. So no account will have same password and email combination. If a hacker gets hold of one of your account login details he can't try those combinations to access your other accounts. 

Next, don't sign up any site you don't really need to sign up on. The fewer the sites you sign up on, the lower your risk of your details being stolen and used to access your other (more important) accounts.

Finally, avoid using shared computers. Don't go logging into your online banking on someone else's PC/tablet. 

If you follow these tips, you might still be hacked but the damages won't be as much as if you do not follow these tips. 


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