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E-mail Security: Constructing Strong Passwords & Other Tips

We recommend you use a long password that has nothing to do with you. Use three random words mashed together with a number. It’s quick and easy to remember.

The reason you want it longer is to prevent brute force guessing of the password.

An example might be: windowmonkeyframe7 or cobblestone15penguinbottle. Unless you are a Window Washer, Monkey Wrangler who Frames pictures for a living or hobby, humans shouldn’t be able to guess the password based on information about you. You can make it even harder by adding Capital Letters and/or symbols but you have to be able to remember those as well: windoWmonkeYframE7&. It never hurts to change your passwords every so often and to avoid using the same password for everything.

How concerned should people be about the recent Time Warner Cable breach?

As long as you’ve changed your password as soon as you could since the breach, it’s unlikely that the hackers had time to access every account’s e-mails and process anything from them. However, if your e-mail account was the one you use for banking and other sensitive information websites it might be worth updating those passwords as well.

As a general rule, most websites don’t include all of your account information in a single e-mail that can be found and used against you, but for those that you do get it is best to ensure they don’t stay on the server.

What steps will protect TWC users, or password breach victims?

I know many people treat TWC like Gmail and use it only as webmail, but you should really get an e-mail client like Mozilla Thunderbird (https:// www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird), which is free, or an e-mail app for your phone. An e-mail client, when set up as POP3, will download the e-mail from the server and then can delete it from the server after download or a few days after download if you use multiple devices. Then you don’t have to worry about what’s left on the server for others to find if a breach occurs. information in a single e-mail that can be found and used against you, but for those that you do get it is best to ensure they don’t stay on the server.

What steps will protect TWC users, or password breach victims?

I know many people treat TWC like Gmail and use it only as webmail, but you should really get an e-mail client like Mozilla Thunderbird (https:// www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird), which is free, or an e-mail app for your phone. An e-mail client, when set up as POP3, will download the e-mail from the server and then can delete it from the server after download or a few days after download if you use multiple devices. Then you don’t have to worry about what’s left on the server for others to find if a breach occurs.

Are there any signs that your account is either vulnerable or has been compromised if it’s an e-mail account?

Typically you won’t see anything unusual immediately. If they breached the server to use the accounts on it, they are likely sending out e-mails as you, usually to spread viruses or spam. You’ll get feedback within a day or two with undeliverable notices you don’t remember sending and the like.

 

 

Thom Prati
By: Thom Prati
Lead Developer at FingerLakes1.com

As seen in
Finger Lakes Woman Magazine
Spring 2016

 



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Design & Internet Services
97 Cowing Street
P.O. Box 85
Seneca Falls, NY 13148

   
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Phone 315.712.0104
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