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Passwords and Privacy : 3 Tips to Better Manage Your Private Content

The latest activity involving Google's questionable Buzz roll out and Facebook's reduction in controlling personal information has sparked major debate among writers and bloggers regarding security. These two companies may hold some of the largest user bases throughout the internet, but when users utilize their services they rely on establishing a username and a password that protects their content from alteration or theft. Identity theft is a serious and increasingly obvious problem going forward, as more companies turn to "cloud" services. How secure is the 'combination' for your lock?

Here are 3 tips to improve your password management and creation skills:

1. Install the latest software and activate a firewall. Although a study done by Cormac Herley, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research, suggests that changing passwords is "a waste of time" or "not worth following." He elaborates on the importance of company-established security measures. Two-thirds of computers have outdated software protection, according to a Microsoft spokesman. Herley points out that a "piece of malicious key logging software on your machine can grab all of your passwords - it makes no difference at that point whether they are strong or weak."

2. Use creative ways to improve password strength.  There's a reason why certain websites and companies encourage a password to contain letters, numbers, and symbols - this battles the common-password tendency that most users prefer. No matter how "emotionally attached" you are to a word or phrase, it may be an easy guess for potential identity thieves. Lifehacker.com, understanding that "complicated passwords just aren't something our brains get excited about memorizing," suggests (via one of its readers) shifting your fingers one set of keys to the right, which would turn a simple password like "money" into ".pmru". 

3. Use a secure online password manager. A single user may use up to 10 different passwords a day. Various passwords may be good for protecting data, but it is also a burden to memorize a different 'combination' for every piece of protected information. A good idea for several users today is an online password manager, one with access from anywhere and trustworthy security. Passpack.com helps to keep track of all your passwords in one place - for no cost.

 

Until next time -

Matthew Hymel

 

Switchfast Technologies
Chicago IT Support & Consulting
Rochester IT Support & Consulting

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