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Hacked Passwords - Are You Safe?
30/01/2009 à 23:55
As some of you may have read in one of our recent blogs account security is at an all-time high for World of Warcraft fans. Coming after the release of a highly anticipated expansion, and an especially busy holiday season, many players are still finding their accounts compromised. Historically, Blizzard has been able to track and shut down illegal activity, but these things are complicated and could take up to several months for a thorough investigation. Even then, not all accounts are able to be restored completely, if at all.
As we covered
, the top three culprits are shared account passwords, illegal account services (real money trading or power-leveling, etc.) and malware such as trojans or viruses. Blizzard will never ask for an account password except on the official website, the official forums or Armory, and the actual game log-in screen. Likewise, never share an account password with another person, even ones you trust.
Too Many Passwords
So while many of us may consider 1234 or asdf to be weak passwords, many people are still not taking this seriously. Many users have also learned over the years that mixing numbers with alphabets will generally create a stronger password. However, the most commonly used number is 1. Another piece of trivia would involve mixing the previously mentioned weak passwords to create, in theory, a stronger one such as 1a2s3d4f. In practice, this really isn't any stronger than the others. So why exactly do we pick such weak passwords? The answer isn't as complicated as one may think—there are just too many passwords to remember. Take our imaginary friend Johnny as an example. He uses the following passwords:
Gaming - such as
World of Warcraft
Gaming websites -
, or guild forums
Instant Messaging - services such as
Multimedia Entertainment -
Online Retailers -
Social Bookmarking -
Social Networking -
All of the above, plus bank cards, company email access, and insurance or retirement PIN numbers. When one thinks about it, this really is a rather short list, but one may easily see how it could grow beyond imagination.
Creating Stronger Passwords
With so many passwords, users are prone to take memorable shortcuts or practices to aid them in selecting and using their passwords. Unfortunately, these human tendencies are also prone to logical patterns. These patterns can be studied and used against us making our seemingly random passwords fair game for hackers or viruses. Here's a few good tips on creating a stronger password:
Size does matter - Did you think eight characters was good? Microsoft recommends at least fourteen!
Use letters, numbers, and symbols - Using a wide variety of characters is better. Symbols on the top row are actually common.
Write them down - Aside from sticky notes on a monitor, writing down passwords are generally safer than software-based tools.
Stay away from patterns - Don't randomly mash buttons on the keyboard or rely on simple "l33t sp33k" and don't use words in a dictionary (of any language)
Avoid personal information - Things such as your social security number, birthday, pet's name or the login name itself are bad choices.
Change passwords randomly - A moderately weak password may only be effective for a week, but a strong one could last years.
Top 10 Common Passwords
Some of the top ten most common passwords include, but are not limited to, the following: 123, password, liverpool, letmein, 123456, qwerty, charlie, monkey, arsenal, and Thomas. Surprised? Other famous entries typically include famous music artists or bands, your first name, or any other one-liner. Another trend is to add numbers in the form of a special year to the password. Such as jonathan1985 or suzie_03. These are no safer than the other weak passwords mentioned in this article. Want to check the strength of your password? Click
Do you use similar passwords for everything or do you come up with something totally genius for each scenario?
Is there a pattern to your passwordness? Do you use a password similar to the ones in this article?
If you do, go change it, quick!
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