Recently the Independent newspaper (UK) published a piece on the safety and security (or lack thereof) of our passwords.
Alarm bells have been ringing for security professionals more or less continuously over the past three years. In 2011, the number of Americans affected by data breaches increased 67 per cent. Every quarter, another multinational firm seems to trip up. PlayStation was a larger casualty, forced to pay $171 million (£112.8m) to protect gamers after its network was broken into. Before Twitter went down, 6.5 million encrypted passwords were harvested from LinkedIn, 250,000 of which later appeared ‘cracked open’ on a Russian forum. (‘1234’ was the second most popular choice; ‘IwishIwasdead’ and ‘hatemyjob’ appeared on one occasion each.) Now all these once-precious words have been added to gigantic lists that hackers can spin against other accounts in future attacks.
In part, progress depends on us – the web’s innocent masses. It’s been four weeks since I changed my password to a cavalry of new passphrases, and muscle memory still sees the old beloved word (a retro chewy sweet) typed into password boxes across the web. Companies will struggle to create security that gets under this convenience limbo. But the web is a darker place than most of us realise, and while we wait for better technology to filter through, it’s probably best to get used to slowing down and locking up.
Read the entire article here.