Posted by: brian | December 17, 2008

Change your passwords right now!

Okay, maybe read this article first. It’s a bit long & involved, but the basic message is:

  1. NEVER give your passwords to other people.
  2. Change your passwords regularly.
  3. Don’t use the same password for multiple services.
  4. Panic anyway!!!!!!

Like you, I’m thinking, “WTH? I can barely remember one password. How am I supposed to remember 40?” Well, a lot of browsers will store them for you. But THAT’S NOT SAFE EITHER!

So what to do? Some companies offer password management software that operates outside the browser (Lenovo does this; I haven’t used it, but maybe I should look into it – though I’m sure doing that also involves facing CERTAIN DOOM.

You could disable password management and store all of your passwords on a piece of paper in a secret place, because most hackers won’t go through the effort to break into millions of homes looking for papers in secret places. But for extra security, you should use an alternate writing system – or better yet, develop your own – to store the information. A simple substitution cipher could be enough, but make sure you use a different one for each password, because otherwise a criminal who figures out one will have the key to all of them! Or better yet, try for steganography – concealing not only the content of the message, but even the message’s existence. You could, for instance, use a grocery store reciept, and take every 5th character or somesuch.

But regardless of how you choose to safeguard your online info, YOU’RE STILL EFFED! So I suggest that you unplug your computer from the Series of Tubes, stuff it in a box in the back of the closet, and forget about it.

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