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Is your computer ID safe?

If you spend any time on the Internet, you should be concerned about safeguarding your personal information. Anybody who does e-commerce, personal banking, bill paying, or social networking on the Internet is exposed to identity theft,identitytheft according to ProtectMyID.com, a, provider of identity theft detection, protection, and fraud resolution.

The company says the best line of defense against identity theft attacks is the one thing people give the least amount of thought to: their username/ password combination. Statistically, most people create username/password combo’s that are easy to remember. They tend to be associated with obvious personal data, such as

  • A partner, child, or pet’s name, sometimes followed by a 0 or 1;
  • The last 4 digits of a social security number;
  • Numerical sequences like 1, 2, 3, 4;
  • The word password;
  • Hometown, city, college, favorite sports team or;
  • Date of birth – partner’s or child’s.

Compounding the problem is the fact that many people use the same username and password for all their online accounts. If a hacker uncovers your password, identity theft and credit-card fraud may not be far behind.

The company says that password hijackers go through trash, mail, or the pages of social-networking sites—a key source for this type of information— to dig up the information they need to crack a password.

Password hijackers sometimes use software designed to crack security to find passwords. Although little can be done to protect against that type of theft, you can use a number of methods to minimize threats and protect passwords:

  • • Indiscriminately trade out numbers and symbols for letters: h@ck3rs ;
  • • Use random caps: h@Ck3Rs;
  • • Use something from the past: a random place, a favorite toy, etc. Don’t use names of friends or classmates, old address or phone numbers;
  • • Vary username/password combinations among accounts.

Source: ProtectMyID.com, www.protectmyid.com


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