Cyber-crime Panda Security

Who’s got my passwords?

Published by Blanca Carton, April 2011

If you suddenly realized that your bank password or your login credentials for Facebook had been stolen, what would you do? It’s a frightening thought that a stranger could access your computer, or even your cell phone, and steal and publish your intimate photos, for example. This is not science fiction, in fact it happened to Scarlett Johansson (source cbs.news).

Think it couldn’t happen to you? Only you know your passwords? Think again. In addition to accidently losing your passwords, there is the very real threat of them being stolen when you type them into your PC. This is because certain programs called keyloggers allow cyber-criminals to record and store your keystrokes.

And if your passwords fall into the hands of cyber-criminals, what can they do with them?  You’ll find the answer in the following presentation: It’s a business for them!

What can you do to avoid this situation?

As always, use your common sense and follow some basic practical advice when using the Internet:

  • Do not reveal your passwords or send them via email.
  • Only visit trusted sites.
  • Change your passwords frequently.
  • Remember that although virtually all browsers give you the option to store the passwords you use, this is not advisable, particularly on a shared PC. Try to avoid it.
  • If you have to enter passwords, use virtual keyboards.

And when you create your passwords:

  • The more complex your passwords are, the better. Use passwords that are a combination of numbers and letters and make sure you have different ones for your webmail, your social networks, etc. not to mention your phone PUKs and PINs for credit cards, etc.
  • Size does matter: the longer the password, the safer it will be.
  • Do not use your name and phone number (joe2124561234), easy passwords (654321) or your child’s name, as this information could be (although it shouldn’t be) available on social networks such as Facebook.

Finally, remember that the best defense against all types of cyber-attacks is to have an up-to-date antivirus. Why not try one of our free antivirus programs: Panda Global Protection 2012 beta?  They offer the best protection against viruses and software designed to steal your information.

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4 Responses

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  1. Neal O'Farrell
    Apr 18, 2011 - 05:49 PM

    Great point, but we need to also move from passwords to pass phrases – things that are easy for us to remember but hard for others to guess.

    For example, the phrase “I was born in Valencia Spain in October 1971″ creates an easy to remember but hard to guess 12 character password IwbiVSiO1971, that has upper case, lower case, and numbers.

    Keep up the great work. We love your research and products.

    Reply

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