A Reminder From Yahoo: Change (And Improve) Your Passwords

A Reminder From Yahoo: Change (And Improve) Your Passwords

YahooLogo

On January 31, 2014, Yahoo announced that a major theft of mail account passwords had compromised an “ undisclosed number” of accounts. Writing from the Yahoo Tumblr blog, senior vice president in charge of Yahoo’s platforms and personalization products, Jay Rossiter, pointed out the attack was a result of a third-party database being compromised, and not from Yahoo’s own systems directly. In addition to explaining the steps Yahoo was taking to protect its members, Mr. Rossiter reiterated the importance of individuals adopting better password security habits as a general rule.

Such password thefts have become a regular occurrence, and often happen when thieves discover a weakness in the overall system – anything from a misplaced laptop to a weak password owned by a system administrator.

In January 2013, for example, a number of US banks suffered a cyber-attack known as a “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)“, in which zombie computers repeatedly and continually connected to the banks’ websites many times a second, making them inoperable to any other users. In the case of the bank attack, the technicians from security firm Incapsula [www.incapsula.com] were able to detect it and close it down before any damage was done. In tracking its source, they found that the DDoS instructions were relayed to a number of infected computers – the type that many millions of people use every day – through an innocent small business website located in England, and an overly simple password, “admin” was at the root of the problem. Click here to read the full CloudTweaks article.

With technology getting increasingly more sophisticated and instantaneous, it remains a permanent horserace between those who wish to use the Internet for business, entertainment and life, and those who wish to use it to create destruction, or to fuel crime. To the bad guys, everything is an opportunity. Consider online payments, for example. Most ordinary online consumers, when preparing to pay with their credit card, carefully check to ensure the presence of the “https://” marker at the beginning of a page’s address, which signifies sufficient encryption, and they then carefully type their credit card number into the panel reserved for just such a purpose.

Bad guys, however, see that credit card number window as something much more: it’s an open channel to a much bigger matrix. By entering a different set of code into that same space, they are able to convince the computers on the other side that they should be let in to distribute their payload. It’s known as an SQL injection. Where most people see a single-purpose form, they see a doorway. That is the difference, and it is something that must remain top of mind for all managers, not just those in IT. Passwords, much like bicycle locks, tend only to keep the good guys and amateur thieves away.

This doesn’t mean that average people are without resources, but it does mean that additional effort must be expended to make hacking more difficult, as thieves, by nature always seek the easiest route. One of the best ways to do this is to make passwords more difficult for them to guess. The most common password in use in offices across the country is still the word “password,” and the next most popular is “123456.”

People generally find it annoying to have to remember many dozens of passwords. They find it even more annoying to have to change them regularly, and even more annoying when the password requires complicated combinations of letters, words and punctuation. However, regular change, and complicated strings are essential. It makes no sense to use easily-guessed passwords such as your child’s name, or easily-deduced challenge/answer questions such as “what is your mother’s maiden name,” since these facts can be easily looked up online.

As a manager it is essential to encourage all staff – including system admins – to create passwords that are extremely difficult to crack, and which are not left lying around. This can be done through the use of password encryption software such as LastPass, (www.lastpass.com) or through specific software supplied by the IT department, or simply by encouraging people to use longer sentence strings that have meaning only to them.

Password security is a necessity. Most people would never leave their homes or cars unlocked when leaving for work in the morning, and they are unlikely to leave the door-key and alarm code under the doormat. Increased sophistication in the creation and maintenance of passwords is a small price to pay for increased security not only on a personal level, but on a global one as well.

By Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice

Steve Prentice has dedicated his career and energies to pinpointing the perfect juncture of productivity between humans and technology in the workplace.

Steve is an acclaimed author and professional speaker who delivers timely, relevant, entertaining and informative keynotes dealing with technology, people and productivity in the workplace. As a mentor, he works with executives in one-on-one discussions, delivering answers and guidance to issues dealing with technology, personal time management and other practical skills. In addition, Steve is also a technology writer and consultant for CloudTweaks Media.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

What is the 12/12 Program?

This program is designed to better handle the thousands of requests we receive from people looking to submit articles. The 12/12 program is the commitment of 12 articles delivered over a 12-month period.  

Wait! What if I just want to submit one article?

Our popular pay as you go sponsorship program provides the flexibility to submit as you wish and is designed for all budgets.

Contributors

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Cloud Infographic – Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare

Wearable Tech And Preventative Healthcare There are so many exciting new opportunities available to utilize wearable technology in the future.  Areas such as nanotechnology disease monitoring, crowdfunding to wearable accessories are some excellent examples of the potential. Estimates vary, but appear to suggest that the market will produce between $14-50 Billion over the next few years. Included below

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips For Successful Business Intelligence Implementation

Ten Tips for Successful Business Intelligence Implementation The cost of Business Intelligence (BI) software goes far beyond the purchase price. Time spent researching, implementing, and maintaining your BI investment can snowball quickly and mistakes are often expensive. Your time is valuable – save it by learning from other businesses’ experiences. We’ve compiled the top ten

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

Knots And Cloud Service Providers

How Do These Two Compare? In Boy Scouts, I learned how to tie knots. The quickest knot you can tie is the slipknot. It’s very effective for connecting one thing to another via the rope you have. It was used in setting up tents, mooring boats to docks temporarily and lifting your food up into

Big Data

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

To Have and Have Not: Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries

Big Data Initiatives In Developing Countries The poor of the developing countries are becoming increasingly connected, to the point where they too are part of the Big Data revolution that’s happening across the globe. It didn’t come with laptops, though, as some supposed it would. Whereas it costs a fortune to connect broadband to a

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data In Your Garden: Initiatives For Better Understanding Nature

Big Data in Your Garden Big Data and IoT initiatives are springing up all across the globe, making cities, protesters–and just about everything else–smarter. However, thus far there’s been little attention paid to the interactions between these bizarre technologies and living things other than humans. Biology, that is, human biology is one field where Big

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Who Holds the Key to the City: Big Data and City Management

Big Data and City Management Cities like New York, Madrid, and especially Rio de Janeiro are augmented with Big Data-powered initiatives that range from combating crime with predictive analytics (New York & Madrid) to providing real-time data for improved management. Although Big Data is no panacea and is mainly used in conjunction with a greater

Internet of Things

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital of the Internet of Things?

Where’s the Capital? We all know the capitals of fashion are London, New York and Paris, while the capital of film is Hollywood (or Bollywood!) – but what’s the new capital of the internet? Specifically, the internet of things? The answer – according to new research by Ozy – might surprise you. It’s not Tokyo, Seoul,

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities – How Big Data Is Changing The Power Grid

Smart Cities And Big Data As Anthony Townsend argues in his SMART CITIES, even though the communications industry has changed beyond recognition since its inception, the way we consume power has remained stubbornly anachronistic. The rules of physics are, of course, partially to blame, for making grid networks harder to decentralize, as opposed to communication

Aggregated News

Popular News Sources

New Funding For Acumatica ERP Cloud Business – $13 Million Invested

New Funding For Acumatica ERP Cloud Business – $13 Million Invested

Acumatica ERP Cloud Business Acumatica, a well known ERP cloud services company has raised over $13 millions in new funding led by Bain Capital Owned-MYOB. This is exciting news for the company and demonstrates the high level of adoption and commitment by their clients and partners. This investment validates the market acceptance of the Acumatica solution,” said

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves What Steve Ballmer Once Despised

Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves What Steve Ballmer Once Despised

“I don’t want to fight old battles,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “I want to fight new ones.” It’s Sunday evening, and Nadella is sitting in a glass-enclosed room at the back of a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, eating sushi with a few reporters. The post Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Loves

Apple sales soar after record-breaking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch

Apple sales soar after record-breaking iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch

The US tech giant reported a 16 per cent jump in iPhone sales between July and September, and the strongest growth in Mac computer shipments in years. Read the source article at dailymail.co.uk About Latest Posts Steve PrenticeSteve Prentice has dedicated his career and energies to pinpointing the perfect juncture of productivity between humans and