Is your online data safe?


I wrote about online passwords just last week but since then Internet security firm SplashData has released their annual list of worst passwords. Each year they look at how easy we’re making it for hackers to take our data, our money and in many cases our identities.

The big news last year was that for the first time since they started compiling the list, ‘password’ didn’t come in at number one. It slipped into second place with ‘123456’ rising to the top position. It would seem that we haven’t learnt much over the past twelve months because they’ve taken the number one and two positions again.

SplashData has announced its annual list of the 25 most common passwords found on the Internet – thus making them the “Worst Passwords” that will expose anybody to being hacked or having their identities stolen. In its fourth annual report, compiled from more than 3.3 million leaked passwords during the year, “123456”and “password” continue to hold the top two spots that they have held each year since the first list in 2011. Other passwords in the top 10 include “qwerty,” “dragon,” and “football.”

If you see your password among the top ten in the picture above, you’re data is in serious danger. In fact, you should take the time to check out SplashData’s full list for 2014. If anything there is familiar, it’s time to change your passwords or get ready to get hacked.

SplashData’s list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords.

“Passwords based on simple patterns on your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are,” said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. “Any password using numbers alone should be avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure.”

For example, users should avoid a sequence such as “qwertyuiop,” which is the top row of letters on a standard keyboard, or “1qaz2wsx” which comprises the first two ‘columns’ of numbers and letters on a keyboard.

If you’re looking for a better solution you might like to try a password manager application.

SplashData has SplashID Safe which, as they say, offers solutions for people and organizations who care about keeping passwords and other information both secure and accessible.

I’ve been using LastPass for several years. It’s another password manager which makes web browsing more secure and I highly recommend giving it a try.

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A Decade of Internet Change

Best Education Sites has a huge range of statistics on how U.S. colleges and universities are engaging with the online world.

They’ve also recently put together the infographic below to show how the online world has changed over the past decade. There are some very interesting findings.


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Too Much Information?

Do you sometimes squirm a little when you see what someone has ‘shared’ online?

Maybe it’s a status update that would have been better shared with one or two people than with the whole world or a photo that really should never have been placed in public.

Since the meteoric rise of social networking there has been an equally sharp increase in the amount of information that people are sharing with everyone else on the planet.

Technology company Intel has produced the Mobile Technology Etiquette Study which suggests that we’re sharing way too much online.

According to a recent multi-country study commissioned by Intel Corporation and conducted by Ipsos Observer* on “Mobile Etiquette,” the majority of adults and teens around the world are sharing information about themselves online and feel better connected to family and friends because of it. However, the survey also revealed a perception of “oversharing,” with at least six out of 10 adults and teens saying they believe other people divulge too much information about themselves online, with Japan being the only exception.

It seems that we don’t understand or we just don’t care about the possible effects of sharing too much through networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the many other social platforms that now play a major part in opening our private lives to the public.

According to the latest Intel survey, approximately half of adults around the world feel overloaded by the amount of information people share online. Yet, adults and teens across the globe are sharing a wide variety of information online, with photos of themselves or people they know cited as one of the top things being shared. Other frequently shared items that adults are likely to share include: announcements of important life events in Australia and the United States; reviews and recommendations in China, France and Japan; sports information in Brazil; and current events in India and Indonesia.

While the survey revealed that digital sharing on mobile devices helps many people feel more connected to others, the tendency to share too much information can annoy others for various reasons. Adults and teens from each country had differing opinions on top digital sharing pet peeves. However, constant complaining, posting inappropriate photos, using profanity and sharing too many life details and personal information were prominent responses.

More than 85 percent of survey respondents across the globe wish people thought more about how others will perceive them when sharing information online. At least one-quarter of adults and one-third of teens around the world, with the exception of Japan and Indonesia, have been embarrassed by something they have done online. Many also admit to having a different personality online and to sharing false information online.

Have you been guilty of sharing too much? I do share a lot of stuff online but I still draw a line on many topics and situations. I realise that even those things that I share with a select group online can go well beyond any privacy settings I may have selected so I’m very careful with how much I send into cyberspace.

What kind of sharing makes you cringe? One of the big ones for me is the ‘fishing’ status. I’m sure you’ve seen them. It’s when someone posts something like, “That’s it. I’ve had enough.” or, “I don’t care what she thinks.” or anything else that is designed to give just enough information to make others swarm in and say, “Are you alright honey?” If you need support, talk to a friend. Don’t go fishing for it online.

How about you? What do you think when friends overshare online?

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Is social media here to stay?

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