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Call the dog R0ver!1 or 5 ways to protect your passwords

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Recently the satire website NewsBiscuit ran a story about children being warned by bankers that the name of the first pet should contain 8 characters and a digit and expectant mothers should be ensure that they give birth somewhere not on Google maps.

The point is that you can have the best password and still get your account hacked if you don’t take some further precautions.

First, when you surf to social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, take the time to type https: before the address. The little “s” after http invokes SSL or secure socket layer protocol which you often see when you purchase online or do online banking (vancity.com defaults to using SSL). Secure socket layer encrypts the data going over the network so other computers/hackers on the same network as you cannot (easily) read your login or banking information.

Second, don’t use public computers to check accounts you login for. Public computers are just that, public, you have no expectation of privacy or security on them.

Third, make sure you answer security questions for accounts with information that is not available on the web or elsewhere. A few celebrities and politicians have had their email and other accounts hacked because their security questions were answered in information on their web site or biographies (Sarah Palin was one the first notorious examples of this). So if on your Facebook page in your profile information you mention your favourite teacher in high school was Mrs. Hatchett and that’s your security question as well, anyone with access to your profile can now reset your account password.

Think it won’t happen to you? Read this tale of woe of a businesswoman who has lost control of her Facebook account which is now spamming all her friends with ads for fake Nike shoes.

Fourth, have different passwords for different accounts. This way if one account gets hacked like your Twitter account, the hackers won’t be able to get into your banking . See above tale of woe, that lady also had her bank account hacked as part of the Facebook hack.

Fifth, don’t let your computer get hacked. Patch the operating system, adobe flash, java and adobe reader every month. Run updates for your other software including iTunes and Quicktime. Use antivirus and antimalware software. One of the most common ways for hackers to get your password is to infect your computer.

Protect your passwords with these 5 steps and call your pet something dignified.

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