Few years ago one of my mail accounts was hacked. I could no longer access my mails. Fortunately it was not a business mail. I used it for casual contacts. One day I received a mail from the same mail account. I just giggled, helpless. I queried the sender with no avail. How many of us have been in such a posture?
The use of passwords has become part of our daily life. Credit cards, phone banking, internet banking, blogging, mails, web hosting all require the use of secret keys or passwords to access personal information stored on our computer or in our online accounts. Why do we use these secret keys? Are they really secret? Can they be hacked?
Yes, hackers, like sharks, are always on the look out. They will easily identify a password which is simple and in common use, like for example a telephone number or a common name written either in the correct order or in reverse order. Sometimes short passwords with five to six characters are used for easy remembering. But one thing we tend to forget: they are also easily hacked. Easy and obvious passwords are easily stolen. When we come to know about it, it may be too late. What do we do?
Use a password that makes it difficult for the hacker. Make it strong and long. How? Use a random combination of characters; letters, figures and symbols. Each character added to the password increases the protection by many times. It is recommended to have at least eight characters or more; 14 or more is considered ideal.
Well, you’d argue that remembering passwords may be quite hectic, especially if you have a good number of them which you use such as for your blog, registration of blog, web hosting, software registration, forums, chats, discussion groups, and I don’t know what. I have hard times myself. But it’s worth the effort.
For further information on how to create and use strong passwords and things to avoid when creating them click here.
And if you are victim of a fraud while making an online transaction there are a number of actions, legal or otherwise, that you can take. It is a crime to make malicious or fraudulent use of somebody else’s information for any transactions. Check the provisions applicable in your country.
You may also read here for general information on what actions you can take.
To your security!
Mauritian residing in Rodrigues, Amanoola Khayrattee (pen name Alfa King) is contributing writer and journalist to La Gazette Mag de l’océan indien and This Week News Mauritius.
Retired, former meteorological cadre, trade unionist and OSH consultant, Amanoola has written for in-house union and other journals, publications and magazines. He runs two blogs since 2007: “Alfa King Memories”, and “Le Journal d’Alfa King”. When he is not reading or writing, he is on a 10+ km daily hike in anticipation of his monthly trails.
Amanoola may be reached at [email protected].