Using what we security experts call “crappy passwords” can be the first step in a journey to identity theft and all of its attendant miseries. If you are using Google Chrome to browse the web, a new web extension from Google can help you detect when you are using user names or passwords which have appeared in lists of compromised credentials leaked by attackers. Should you be using these easily guessable credentials, the Password Checkup extension will warn you, giving you a chance to change your credentials and make life just a little bit harder for hackers. Google has a blog post explaining how the extension works (no they can’t see your password).
Crappy passwords are a big problem. A few weeks ago, someone dumped 87 gigabytes of stolen user names and passwords (over 1.1 billion sets of credentials) from lots of web sites on the Internet for all to see. Analysis of the data dump yielded some depressing statistics – the most depressing being that only 3% of the passwords in the database were unique. 97% were being used by at least one other account. This makes password guessing easier for attackers – use a password manager to generate, long, random, unique passwords for each website you visit, people!
If you are using any of these passwords, you are BAD and your password is BAD!
And here is reason # 312 to use a password manager… when you die, while I am sure you are going to want your browser history to remain a deep dark secret you take to the grave, your bereaved loved ones may actually need some of your passwords to, say, allow your crypto currency exchange customers to access $145 million worth of BitCoin. This guy did not take my advice…much to the consternation of customers of Quadriga. Password managers (like Lastpass, KeePass or Dashlane) allow you to share passwords for selected sites with your loved ones, avoiding such unpleasantness.
And finally, remember that there is no escape from the prying eyes of the Internet. I’m expecting them to develop software which can see through that piece of duct tape on your webcam next!