Couple things to note. First, almost 2,000 users were using the password "password." And second, because people often use the same password for multiple websites, all sorts of Twitter, Facebook, and other sites could be hacked into as well. Most experts suggest changing passwords regularly, using upper and lower case, symbols, numbers. But in order to be that safe and secure, you must give up the ability to actually remember all the passwords you need.
On today's show, we explore some of the better ways to manage the passwords of our daily online life. We talk to Sarah Granger, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project focused on cyber-security issues. She says managing passwords is important because there are plenty of ways that bad guys can run automated guessing programs on your account. If you're using the name of a big city or a common proper name, you're very much at risk. She suggests the Splash ID app for your mobile phone. There are some other programs you might want to check out here.
But don't get scared. Bruce Schneier is a security technologist and author, widely respected author on issues of security. He says for passwords on content sites -- The New York Times for instance -- don't sweat it. No one's going to steal your browsing history. As for remembering other passwords, he says write them on a piece of paper, stick it in your wallet.
T.J. Campana is with Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit. He tells us about his family's use of "pass phrases". You take a long sentence and then rearrange it, repunctuate it, modify it in different places.
Also in this show: Wikileaks the video game. You get to be Julian Assange, breaking into the Oval Office to hijack President Obama's laptop. Just don't wake him up! It's a very realistic video game. Because that kind of thing happens all the time.
“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VABEFORE YOU GO