Last updateFri, 12 Oct 2018 11am

Outfoxing the cybercrooks

Finally, finally, after five decades of waiting the question has been answered!  I will come back to that in due course but first some discussion of other more current questions.

It is no secret that cyberspace can be a dangerous place.  Too many people have found out the hard way that they were only one hacked password away from having their bank account emptied by cybercrooks. Financial institutions are not responsible for losses that arise from customer’s carelessness, such as neglecting to practice safe online security.  In spite of this few users bother to create elaborate passwords that are cryptographically secure.

Anyone who wants to avoid the experience of having their bank balance suddenly and irretrievable go to zero need to be aware of two facts all cybercrooks already know.  One is that in several studies 90 percent or more of user passwords appear on lists of just the most used 1,000 passwords.  Two is that every crook on the internet has copies of these lists.

Crooks also seem to have a good understanding of human behavior, and they know most people follow the same thinking when creating passwords.  The first thing that comes to the minds of most users are easy-to-remember names such as spouse, pet, hometown, car, etc.  It is distressing how many people think that the word “password” is a good choice.  Foreign language words are not inherently secure.  Other than the 200,000,000 citizens of Brazil who could possibly guess that “senha” is Portuguese for “password.”

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