12/11/2007

Vary your logins and passwords.

I want to share a little anecdote with you...

Last Friday, someone managed to hack my friend's Ebay password. (Apparently, this happens all the time at Ebay.) Inside my friend's Ebay account, the hacker got my friend's e-mail address. My friend used the same password for Ebay and e-mail, and voila, the hacker got access to my friend's e-mail account too.

And because my friend used the same basic login structure for several online accounts--first initial plus last name, full name without a space, et cetera--the hacker got access to other accounts by just trying the login pages for major companies, e.g. AT&T. (Of course, the hacker didn't spend his own time doing that; he used computer programs.)

Nastier still, the hacker read e-mail in my friend's Inbox and Sent Mail folders and sent fraudulent and embarrassing (i.e., pornographic) e-mails to all his correspondents.

***


Experts advise you to vary your logins and passwords. I never listened until now. Today I changed all of mine. And of course I had to write them down, because I could never remember them all, so now I have a piece of paper I absolutely cannot lose.

It's hard to come up with tons of logins, so I used my drag queen name. "My drag queen name"? No, gentle readers, I don't have a drag alias. To get your drag queen name, you pair the name of your first pet with your mother's maiden name. Then I started using other people's pet names, with other people's last names. Soon, I had lots of fabulous new logins.

7 comments:

Phillip said...

Passwords are such a pain in the butt. I don't think I have easily guessed ones but I tend to use the same one over and over again. I hope your friend got everything fixed before they did any damage.

germi said...

I always thought your drag name was your first pet for your first name and the street you grew up on for your last name.
Mine would be Sampson South Alamo!
Oops - I guess I can't use it for a login now ...

but maybe I'll have a great new career as a Drag performer!

pssst ... check out my blog - I dedicated the latest post to you!

chuck b. said...

I tended to use the same password over and over too. My friend's first name, plus the date of her birthday. Not even a friend I know anymore, so I had been using it for a decade. Ridiculous.

Sampson South Alamo! Now that you mention it, I have heard the pet name + street name prescription for drag queen names too.

The reason I remember using the mother's maiden name is because it gave rise to one of my favorite DQNs of all time, Choo-Choo Dorflinger.

(Also, not a login that I use anywhere.)

Beth in the Fake Plastic Fish Tank said...

Hi. I use a program called RoboForm, which can generate passwords and keep track of them for you. The nice thing about it is that you don't ever have to type in passwords or info into forms because this program will do it for you, eliminating worries of key-stroke loggers. (If you were worried about such a thing.)

This isn't the kind of thing I ususally blog or comment about. My blog, Fake Plastic Fish is about ways to reduce our plastic consumption and plastic waste. But somehow I found my way to your site and thought I'd let you know about the password solution I found.

Cheers!
Beth

Layanee at 'Ledge and Gardens' said...

Chuck: LOL and I've learned something new! Can women be drag queen's? Thanks for the 'heads' up' on the link problem over at 'Ledge'! I've straightened that out now. Oh, and who has time to do all that nefarious computer hacking? I think they should be sitting in the county jail! Wastrels!

lisa said...

I'm guilty of password over-use too. Here at work, they make us change them regularly, and you cannot re-use your most recent previous one, so I have three that I rotate there and at home. (Helps with my fading memory-only three possibilities to go through.) Heh...my drag name is "Pooky Stevens" :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

See, I learned that as your porn name... but "Coco Williams" makes me sound more like a torch/lounge singer than a porn star (or a drag queen) no?