I was in grade school during the 1960s. This was during the height of the Cold War, when all schoolkids were taught to be suspicious of the Russkies. Actually, American education does a great job of inculcating a fear of the other. The Russians were a convenient target at that time.
Fast forward to 2016. Apparently little’s changed over the past 45 to 50 years. Democrats are still trying to play “the Commies ate my homework,” or some version of it. Rather than own up to Hillary Clinton being a loser once again, it’s easier to lay the burden of Clinton and the DNC’s incompetence at the feet of Russia, and their current president, Vladimir Putin. Funny how that works—the more things change, the more things stay the same. Candidate Clinton—who ran a woeful campaign—can take solace. The Russians caused her to lose!
But I’m sick of that tune and I’m not going to play it today.
Where I work four days each week to earn some supplemental income so I can call myself “a writer,” we have occasional online training sessions. These are mandatory.
Inevitably, I’ll get the emails saying I haven’t completed the training and usually a week or a few days before the drop dead date, I’ll carve out 20 minutes and complete the online training session on some topic like phishing, online fraud, or in yesterday’s case—strong passwords.
If there’s one thing life in 2016 teaches you, it’s that you better develop some killer passwords for your various online accounts. That’s great, except that most of us now are required to have passwords numbering in double digits, if not more.
Some guy named Kevin Mitnick facilitated our online training. According to the webinar, Mitnick at one time was “the world’s most wanted hacker.” Who better than to tell us what hackers are after in hacking into your various online accounts.
Here is some of Mitnick’s wisdom, in bullet form:
- Don’t tell anyone your password
- Don’t use pet names, or words from the dictionary for passwords
- Create “pass phrases”; like, “Hillary Clinton is a political loser who couldn’t beat a reality TV star, but it’s not her fault” (that one might be a little long)
- Use a different password for each website (even if you have 300 sites to stay on top of)
- Watch out for security questions; make them as difficult as your password
- Consider using a password manager, like KeePass, or other no-cost apps to store your ever-increasing passwords
And no, your first name followed by 12345 isn’t a strong enough password. Prepare to be hacked!