Written for the Occupancy Marketing blog

Passwords and security… yawn! But when big, reputable sites like LinkedIn, Last.FM and eHarmony are hacked it’s time to take note and improve your password choices.

Step 1

Try to create long and complicated passwords.

Step 2

Have a unique password for each and every site that you use. When passwords are stolen from sites like LinkedIn they are (normally) encrypted and will likely contain a list of usernames and passwords for several thousand users. Decrypting passwords isn’t easy but taking a guess at what a popular password might be (e.g. “123456”) and encrypting that guess allows a hacker to easily compare the encrypted value to passwords stored in the database. Suddenly it’s very easy to see how many of the thousands of users have used 123456 as their password.

Your goal when you are picking passwords is to not be an easy target – hackers will grab the email addresses of silly folks with the most common passwords and try those email and password combos on other websites; if you have used that same password and email address combination on Facebook, Amazon, Ebay and Google then you could be in big trouble.

Top 10 Passwords From LinkedIn’s June 2012 Hack:

10. sex
9. ilove
8. the
7. angel
6. 12345
5. job
4. god
3. work
2. 1234
1. link