Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Check if your Hotmail etc account is safe; secure your passwords

You've probably seen the tons of publicity recently about lots of webmail account details (e-mail addresses and passwords) being stolen or phished and published online - initially for 10,000 HotMail emails but then it transpired also some 20,000 other email accounts on Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Gmail and also service providers Comcast and EarthLink.

Heise have provided a link to a page where you can enter your email address (just the part before the @ sign) to check if your own email address is on those published lists or not.

If not, at least it's some relief to know, although that only means your account isn't on that particular list - it doesn't mean your account hasn't been compromised in some other way, so you should always remain vigilant about security and not reply to phishing emails (even the FBI director's nearly been caught out!).

Check your email address on Thomas Springer's ServerSniff.

More secure passwords

Many of the passwords concerned were easily guessable (don't use 123456 or 123456789 and the like for your password!) so follow good password practices, don't use the same one for every account or service; follow advice for choosing secure passwords e.g. Michael Santerre for Gmail, or Elinor Mills on cnet (including this free Microsoft password strength checker page), and of course security guru Bruce Schneier's tips.

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