eHarmony and LinkedIn passwords compromised

eHarmony and LinkedIn passwords compromised | Tech Tips Article by PcCG

eHarmony and LinkedIn passwords leaked, hacked, jacked – whatever. The point is, if you have accounts with either of these systems, change them.

This takes us to a more general concept, changing passwords. Nobody likes to do it, myself included. It’s a pain, then becomes difficult to remember which passwords you used. However if you want any type of security, it is a good idea to change your passwords. I try to balance the inconvenience with security by recommending once a year. Most security experts recommend 60 days, but – that’s just not particle. One a year, can ya handle that?

This also will help with the ever-so-prevalent email hijacking. Most of the time hackers obtain your password by tricking you into submitting your email address and password on some fake website. They don’t use those passwords right away – there are simply too many collected to go through them as fast as they would like. This means there is a lag before the hijackers use your password, sometimes a long lag. Changing your password once in a while will help prevent this as well.

For more on email hijacking read here.

Create a useful password, not “password1”. Don’t use something obvious either like your dog’s name, or your address. Here’s how to create a strong password, that appears cryptic to people but is indeed simple for you to remember.

Pick your favorite phrase, bible verse, lyrics from a song – something… then take the first letter form each word and make that your password. For example, “All men are created equal”. This would become “amace”.

Note – generally you should try to go for at least 6, and really 8 or more characters, so this example doesn’t follow that rule.

We’re not done yet. Now we are going to mix it up a bit more. The word “are” in our phrase can be represented with just the letter “r”, we’ll even capitalize it, since we are changing “are” into “r”, or rather “R” to tell us it’s really the word “are” instead of just another letter. Did ya catch that? If not, it’s ok – just try to capitalize some part of it, and not the first letter.

So now we have “amRce”.

Lastly, we want to add numbers and/or special characters. This is often required. Putting a “1” at the end, is just obvious. Yes, I see you blushing right now – after I just told the world about your secret “1” at the end of your password.

Here are some accepted, common Internet translations:

  • E can turn into 3 (3 looks like a backwards E)
  • a can turn into @
  • L can turn into 7 (upside down L) or into ! (exclamation looks like lowercase)
  • i can turn into 1 (note that’s I vs L in the previous example)
  • o can turn into 0
  • S can turn into 5 or $

So now we’ll end up with something like “@mRc3”. Remember where we started? “All men are created equal”. Now you can see where that password comes from and it looks very easy to remember at this point. To someone else who doesn’t know it’s built off that phrase, it looks like babble, and that’s what we want.

You will have to recite it to yourself for about a week. After that, I promise you, you will type it just like a word – without even thinking about it anymore.
There are many more examples, and you don’t need to per say memorize these – just be creative.

Create a good strong password and change it once a year. I wouldn’t even smack your hand for using the same password for all your services, although that’s bad security advice. I have two passwords I use, one for most things, then one slightly modified password for very important things such as banks, credit cards etc.

For a video I created explaining this same thing - go here

Now – go fourth and change ye passwords!