Is Your Online Casino Password Really Secure?
Whenever you go online, you will always have to announce who you are. In everyday life, this is usually simple: Your visual identity is sufficient for face-to-face encounters, your voice is a great help with phone calls, and your address and other personal information are useful in written communication. But online, it's easier to remain anonymous. Whether you're playing an online casino, sending emails, or hanging out with friends on social media, you always need a password to confirm your identity before you get started. But, anyone could enter this information and pretend to be you. So how can you keep this vital password secure?
Another Facebook outage
Facebook has had a number of issues with privacy, abuse and security, and now another issue has come to light. It appears that the Internet giant has discovered a flaw in its password management routines. As a result, Facebook reports that hundreds of millions of passwords used on the platforms Facebook, Facebook Lite and Instagram have been stored internally in plain text format - in some cases since 2012. Such data would normally be stored in an encrypted form to prevent employees and others from gaining unauthorised access.
Although Facebook has corrected the error and claims to find no evidence of actual abuse, the fact remains that sensitive data was left unprotected. Thus, it would have always have been easy for any Facebook employee to harvest a phenomenal amount of data, which would undoubtedly have a significant black market value. Facebook does not have a large number of security breaches, but as recently as September 2018, a data hack stole information from 30 million Facebook users.
Best password practices
The best way to protect your data is to have a strong password that is difficult to guess or hack. A preferred method of doing this is to create a sentence that you will find easy to memorise and recall. It could be a description of an important event, your favourite location, or something else like a difficult sentence that you know well in a foreign language.
Next, combine word segments from your original material into a new string of characters. This new element must be at least 8 characters long, and preferably more. Longer passwords are increasingly difficult to crack, but many websites will have their own character boundaries. Your aim is to produce something that you could remember, derived from an original phrase you can never forget. It helps to make your new combination a little random - so, for example, do not just use the first letter of each word. You should find something perhaps nonsensical at the end that still has a memorable resonance.
In order to increase security, you should mix the text case by including two capital letters which 'fit" the logic of your material. Some websites require this anyway and also ask for numbers and / or special characters too. So a sensible option might therefore be to digitise words (4 instead of four) and perhaps convert numbers into words (too in place of 2).
As a very simple example, suppose your memorable phrase was: Do You Know The Way To San Jose? You could render that as dyNotwtSJ? Using "No" for "Know" gives a password with ten characters and capital letters that is not obvious but remains logical to you. If you swap "2" for "To," then add a numeric element to give dyNotw2SJ? Which retains the flavour of your original, yet would be hard to crack.
Your house key allows someone to come into your house and your car key allows someone to drive your car. And likewise, in digital terms, your two most important digital keys are the passwords to your email and social media accounts. Once a hacker has obtained your email password, they can then follow the "Forgotten Password" route on many websites, allowing them to access your online banking arrangements, shopping accounts on Amazon and elsewhere, and much more. And if your social media account has been hacked, your friends and contacts could be bombarded with scams, or they could receive requests from "you" asking for large sums of cash.
So just as you keep your most important physical keys safe, you must always do the same with your digital keys.
Some Password-Do's and Dont's
- Share your passwords. You're lending the keys to your digital life.
- use "lazy" passwords that anyone can guess, e.g. "password," "qwerty," "123456" etc.
- include personal information such as birthdays, family or pet names, telephone numbers, etc.
- use a complete single word. No matter in which language, it can be easily hacked.
- use different passwords for different sites.
- Change your passwords from time to time.
- Create edited and abbareviated versions of an easy-to-remember phrase, preferably with mixed upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Consider using a central password manager program to manage all your passwords.