Thursday, October 16, 2008

Teh Internetz: Password Protection

A few weeks ago, I nerd-laughed (which is a sort of phlegmy, halting snicker) at Sarah Palin for having her Yahoo account hacked as well as Bill O'Reilly for having his web site hacked.

Stupid, un-web savvy n00bs, I chortled. God, who uses yahoo e-mail anymore anyway?

Then, a few days later, I got totally hax0red.

A personal blog I had kept since I was 15, chronicling my every teenage honey-nut angst-morsel and drama-ridden spinach-puff, was hacked and wiped clean of all information. Sure, it wasn't as horrifying as, say, compromising government business or releasing personal contact information of hundreds of paid subscribers, but it still sucked big time. Luckily, I had a content backup system and I was able to contain the damage, but that is no excuse. I should have had a better password protection system in place.

As writers, you will hopefully be keeping digital archives of your work along with important e-mails from your (god willing) agent and/or publisher. Consider this a friendly reminder to stop using "password" as your password.

Lifehacker has a great article here about how to keep your password safe.

Bottom line:

    1. Don't answer your security questions in a clear-cut fashion; obscure the answers.

    2. Choose passwords that are complex.

    3. Use a password manager to keep track of them.

So go ahead. Change that password you've been using for 10 years. It might be annoying, but it'll make you safer in the long run.

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