Twitter has urged all its users to change their passwords due to a malfunction in their 'hashing' system which recently exposed all their users' passwords.
The 'Hashing System' is Twitters encryption process for passwords and provides some level of everyday security for Twitters users, outside of serious vindictive hacking on users' accounts.
Due to an inner error and a proceeding internal investigation, Twitter Inc discovered that an internal computer system was storing passwords in readable text, allowing whoever had access to that server to simply read off passwords.
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Twitter did not elaborate on how many passwords were exposed although they do suggest that this glitch continued for several months. The timing on this one, couldn't have been better, as lawmakers line up to investigate how the big boys like Facebook, Equifax and now Twitter secure user data.
Aside from privacy issues in general, a major issue with a breach on Social media passwords is worrying for two reasons: firstly, that accounts will be used and manipulated by criminal elements and secondly, that other personal data will be exposed across other online accounts: bank, emails and otherwise, as statistically, individuals use the same password everywhere.
With that in mind and before the Law starts clamping down on securing your passwords through yet more layers of user authentication, here are our top five tips on how to secure your online passwords better starting today:
1. Use Multiple Passwords.
Sounds obvious but up to 55% of online users use the same password everywhere. The recent development of password management software, such as LastPass or Roboform, allows the busiest of people to manage multiple passwords without having to remember them all.
You will have to remember the master password for the software but at least all your other passwords become encrypted once stored.
2. Avoid the Obvious Algorithms.
Predictability is the Hackers plaything. Sophos provided a list back in 2017 of the 50 most popular passwords and it is as shocking as it is predictable.
The most common still include," 123456", password or "qwerty".
Hackers running programs to identify patterns are rubbing their hands with glee. Most passwords we set up, ask us for the same information, prompting the same patterns.
Humans being a predictable bunch, usually follow the same rules with which letters they capitalize, which words they will misspell where to put the numbers in the password and which symbols they use. By producing a real random string of numbers and letters, you are far better protected.
3. Don’t Use Personal details
We are all Social Media users to some extent and if we aren't, our nearest and dearest most definitely are. Using our own personal details, such as family members names is highly dangerous, especially if you on a Hackers radar.
4. Use Longer Passwords
The longer password, even when less complex, the harder it is to crack. This particularly applies when the sequence of words is randomly generated.
You can generate random passwords through a password generator or you can simply spend a little bit of time thinking of some interesting brain teasers.
5. Change it Up
Keep updating your passwords, we know it's a hassle. Some people do through by simply adding the year into their password and then changing that yearly, this could also be done monthly.
There is an additional bonus here that by adding the date, you are making the password longer as well, giving you an extra layer of password security.