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Tuesday Tech: Passwords In Trouble

Posted on 12/14/2010 by | AARP Blog Author | Comments

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Secure password of the week
Let’s talk about passwords. You may have heard that a major blogging network had all its commenter usernames and passwords not only hacked, but published – in a database anyone could access. Why is this a big deal? Well, many of us use the same basic combination of username and password for a bunch of sites; your banking login may very well be the same exact login. Bad news bears.
This is a good reminder to be careful with those passwords. The number of services I’ve registered a username and password for over the last five years has to be in the several hundreds. The Lifehacker blog (coincidentally, one of the ones whose commenter passwords was hacked) has a great list of tips up.
As for me? I’m a bad example. I use the same somewhat-complicated password for a host of sites. None, however, would compromise me immensely if hacked – and the ones that do can be counted on one hand. My email accounts get their own super complicated password that changes every month. My Facebook account gets another, different password. My banking login is also completely different. All three get changed slightly at least once a month, or as often as I read about a scam or see a friend get hacked.
I have relatives who leave Post-It notes by the computer with often-used passwords, and the date they were changed last. Old-school, but it’s visual, and it works. What are your strategies for keeping your passwords safe?

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