Don’t make these mistakes with passwords and PINs

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It's 2015, not 1998.

But many of us still set passwords as though we're living in the "You've got mail" age of AOL. Despite the Anthem and Target security breaches in recent months, among others, many of us still use dangerous passwords.

Time Magazine cites surveys that find 1234 is the number one iPhone password. The second most popular password is 0000. And iPhone users tend to have college degrees.

That kind of PIN is not such a problem if it's just to log onto your phone.  But it can become an issue if you can then access your email accounts and other sensitive places from that log-in.

In addition, with so many recent reports of data breaches, experts say many people have weak passwords on their bank accounts and other accounts.

Microsoft says the ideal password has at least 14 characters and has both letters and numbers.

And from the "Doesn't that stink" file comes the fact that many people still use their birth dates as ATM and debit card PINs. If someone figures it out, they are halfway toward successful identity theft.

Microsoft says dangerous passwords include your name, birth date,  driver's license number, or other personal numbers.

Several websites, including Microsoft's, have password testers, where you can enter your passwords and see how secure they are.

You may be in for a surprise.

And never set your bank account so that you automatically log in when you are on your phone.  You should have to log in a second time to access it.

That way, you don't waste your money.

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1 Comment

  • Hitoshi Anatomi

    Being able to create strong passwords is one thing. Being able to recall them is another. And, being able to recall the relations between the accounts and the corresponding passwords is yet another. And, ID federations (single-sign-on services and password managers) create a single point of failure. Password-dependent biometrics cannot help, either.

    At the root of the password headache is the cognitive phenomena called “interference of memory”, by which we cannot firmly remember more than 5 text passwords on average. What worries us is not the password, but the textual password. The textual memory is only a small part of what we remember. We could think of making use of the larger part of our memory that is less subject to interference of memory. More attention could be paid to the efforts of expanding the password system to include images, particularly KNOWN images, as well as conventional texts.

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