Security Corner

Jun 29 2013   10:26PM GMT

Want to be secure? Be unpredictable

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

We tend to be creatures of habit. For some areas of our lives, that’s a good thing; there’s nothing wrong with establishing healthy eating habits or good home maintenance habits. When it comes to security (both physical security and cyber security), however, habits can be a very bad thing. For instance, if you always park in the exact same spot and take the same route from or to the parking lot at the same times each day, you could become a target for muggers. The solution is to park in a different spot each day – maybe even a different lot, if you can – and vary your route. In other words, be a moving target, be unpredictable.

The same principle applies in cyberspace. You’ve seen those statistics that show how predictable password patterns are (see Password patterns to avoid as one example). Most of us probably also use the same user name (our name or a variation) for everything and some, heaven forbid, the same (predictable) password or password pattern. This makes it relatively easy for hackers to compromise your account. The solution is to use different user names for your various sites and online accounts. This can be as simple as adding numbers to your user name, or tacking on the site name. For example, my login to foo.net could be kenfoo with a random password. Or, it could be kharthun23. Whatever you do, the idea is to be unpredictable.

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