The Permeable Threat to the Digitized Being of Us

What’s going on with the latest rash of online password thefts?  What is the thrill in posting this information on the internets?  Is possessing the passwords of other people an ego boost or a public rant against insecure information stored on the web?

First LinkedIn, then eHarmony, and now possibly Last.fm. As the number of sites falling victim to password hackers continues to grow, the questions are flooding in: are these incidents all connected? And, perhaps more importantly, who’s next?

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Hardening Passwords

A couple of months ago my Network Solutions account was compromised in that my username and password were changed without my knowledge. I have a sneaking suspicion that event may have been a preemptive strike against my move away from Network Solutions web hosting to Media Temple — if you can’t get into your NetSol account you cannot change the DNS pointers — but I have no proof of that suspicion other than a modulating paranoia and the uncomfortable knowledge there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

I was able to work around that lockout and I moved my DNS pointers to the Media Temple servers and all my sites are currently hosted with (mt). Lately I have heard too many stories from friends that their blogs have been defaced and that other previously thought “secure” places elsewhere had been broken and entered.

The most likely way those break-ins happen is a compromised password that was guessed by a human or brute force attacked by a super-human computer. Microsoft has some good advice on how to create a strong password. Here’s my quick method for creating a hardened password in seconds:

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