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Chris Forde

The Silent e Blog by Chris Forde

Ack! A hack!

As long as I've been online, which is roughly half my life, I've always been careful with my computers. Even though I use a Mac at home and those tend to be infected far less with viruses, I still try to take precautions. I know what phishing emails look like and I don't give away my personal information. I don't click on links in emails that I don't know and when I'm surfing the web, I don't visit sites I'm not familiar with.

It surprised me yesterday when all of the sudden, my personal email shot back several undeliverable messages and another email from someone I know asking about something I sent. Apparently, someone managed to hack my personal email account.

I looked at the logs for my email and saw that it had been accessed in the Dominican Republic. I certainly wasn't there yesterday! Every appearance is that they were able to access my account by a brute force attack to crack my password, which I thought was a good one. Apparently not.

Why am I telling you all of this? Maybe this will be a good chance for you to rethink your password too. One of my friends that knows more than a little bit about computers and computer security told me that he knows of other similar instances.

Think about your password for a minute. Odds are pretty good that it is fairly simple. Here's a list of the 25 worst passwords from last year. Hopefully your password isn't on the list.

Now might be a good time to change your password. Make sure that it is at least eight characters. You should have a mix of uppercase and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols. A good tip I read was to pick a password that uses the first letters of a phrase or a poem or song lyrics that you can easily remember.

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02/17/2012 7:28AM
Ack! A hack!
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