Passwords, LinkedIn and the White Rabbit

With the news this morning that your eHarmony or LinkedIn password was posted on a Russian website, people are frantically changing their passwords today. Or so one hopes.

Why all the urgency?

Should anyone be concerned that some troublemakers are going to hack your LinkedIn profile and change your Harvard MBA to one from Ohio State (oh the humanity) or change your eHarmony preferred mate preference from athletic to BBW (oh the humanity)? What you should really be worried about is that your stolen password can also be used to access your bank accounts or email. (Oh, I hadn’t thought about that!)

In truth, the posting of passwords probably doesn’t matter because according to a 2011 study of passwords, it was revealed that the most common passwords are the following:

1. password
2. 123456
3.12345678
4. qwerty
5. abc123
6. monkey
7. 1234567
8. letmein
9. trustno1
10. dragon

Shocking isn’t it? (I can believe people actually use ‘monkey’ as a password. Huh.)

This article also goes on to list some suggestions for creating and maintaining a secure password:

1. Vary different types of characters in your passwords; include numbers, letters and special characters when possible.
2. Choose passwords of eight characters or more. Separate short words with spaces or underscores.
3. Don’t use the same password and username combination for multiple websites. Use an online password manager to keep track of your different accounts.

I recommend one takes security a step further and also applies the same methodology that author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson employed in selecting his pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

Select a two word password and convert the first word to Latin and then back to English. Next take the second word of your password and convert it to the Latin and then back to Irish. Switch the first and second words and you have a password. Oh ya, and add one of these thingies too: & % $ or @.

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