Users that assign traditional passwords to their email accounts must refrain from using personal information in their passwords if they’re to limit their chances of being hacked, an expert has claimed.
Tony Anscombe, internet security expert and senior evangelist at AVG, believes such passwords are becoming increasingly easier to crack as hacker technology becomes more sophisticated.
He said: "With news of well-known websites such as Yahoo and others suffering high profile password breaches, awareness of password security should be at an all time high.
“We believe the traditional password is dead and we should try to avoid using traditional passwords that might have been based on your name, your pet’s name or even your birthday.
“Our predisposition to use easy-to-remember words or numbers with a linear base as in 1,2,3,4 or even 5,6,7,8 has to change.”
His comments come just a day after it was revealed that a hacker group had stolen the usernames and passwords of some 450,000 Yahoo users.
According to Anscombe, global spamming operations have become so sophisticated that it can track users’ web activity and use their publicly-shared information to crack individuals’ account codes.
He said: “If user ‘Sally Mills’ tweets on Twitter that her birthday celebrations are happening on the 5thof February and she subsequently uses “05FebSally” as her Facebook password, Gmail password etc then this is not secure.
“Automated password cracker software has the ability to trace individual’s public web activity and make these associations to compromise person data security.”
He adds: “Users should look to move onward from the simple password and start to look at more sophisticated groups of characters or passphrases such as “AvGrocks4security!” for example.
“You might like to use something personal to you that can still creates complexity as the basis for your passphrase.
“Even “Neil!luvs2jog” is an improvement upon “password”, “admin” or “12345678” – passwords which are still used with alarming regularity.”