Byte Me Article 357 – Passwords

17th March 2018

Take Time Choosing Passwords

We barely have a day go by without needing to reset a password for a customer or without having to go through a sometimes convoluted password recovery process.  This inevitably happens when we are swapping a customer across to a new computer or even when an email account starts playing up.  More often than not it is simply the customer trying the wrong password that often gets people through our door in the first place.

With the plethora of uses that the Internet provides comes the need to have many usernames and passwords for various sites.  Previously we would walk into a service centre such as a bank or a supermarket and front up personally to purchase goods or make changes to our account.  Now we are losing that personal touch and are performing these transactions from behind a screen.

The resulting security nightmare is real and expanding.  Just one example that comes to mind is the need to have a go via account if you want to drive through any of Brisbane’s toll roads.  So the number of Internet sites that we need to keep log in details for is ever expanding.  I have talked about these issues in previous articles however the subject needs revisiting here.

Previously one of the biggest threats to our security was to leave bank card pins in our wallet or computer log on details on a sticky note attached to our screens.  These ‘confidential’ details could be found by other members of our family or our colleagues at work.  However, these people have become far less of a threat than a hacker on the other side of the world that we will never meet.

This hacker that we will never meet can often gain full access to our computers and the first thing they are after are credit card or banking details.  The next most popular bonanza for them are some of the simple details that help them with identity theft.  These are details like date of birth, drivers licence, passport details or photos and the like.

Armed with enough details about you – a hacker can sometimes apply for a small personal loan or another credit card to be issued which results once again in money for them.  There are a number of different scams and literally millions of hackers worldwide participating in them and trying to think up new ones.

As in the past, we strongly suggest that customers keep a small book with all of these log on details and passwords.  If going through this process you will find it amazing how much information you need to keep.  This book is far easier to keep safe in a locked draw or similar than it is for the average computer user to guarantee that their computer is always hacker proof.

Besides the security advantages of this suggestion you should then always have the right passwords and log on details for all of the sites and services that are important to you.  The other often overlooked problem of keeping this information on your computer is the simple fact that when you need it most (if your computer dies) the information is often lost at the same time. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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