February 22, 2013
Last month The Washington Post reported that a criminal investigation is underway to find out who launched a malicious attack against former President Bush and his family’s private email accounts. A programmer illegally accessed (i.e., “hacked”) and then leaked emails and photos belonging to the Bush family. The Post’s report serves as a timely reminder about the importance of strong passwords for your email and other accounts.
A strong password contains a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. In addition, users should choose complex answers to password reset questions, ones that a passing acquaintance wouldn’t know. (For example, your pet’s name or child’s school name would be known to people in your extended circle.)
In light of the recent phishing scams plaguing UF, it is important to consider the effect that weak passwords have on data privacy. If you respond to a link in a phishing email, not only can you potentially be coaxed into giving away important passwords — you may expose your laptop, phone, or computer to malware and other types of cyber intrusions.