TUCOWS ARTICLE

Prevent Identity Theft with Effective Password Management

Identify theft is the most commonly reported complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. For the last three years running the FTC has received more than 240,000 identify theft complaints. Internet-related fraud complaints have averaged about 200,000 per year for the last three calendar years.
Published: Jan 2, 2008
Author: Eugene Gindin
Related OS: Windows
Software that can help Good for Cow Rating
RoboForm 7.2.3.0
Demo
Download RoboForm is the top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates...
Identify theft is the most commonly reported complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. For the last three years running the FTC has received more than 240,000 identify theft complaints. Internet-related fraud complaints have averaged about 200,000 per year for the last three calendar years.

With increasing use of the Internet - for customer service, bill paying, and almost every area of life - this problem will only increase. Do not forget that when an identity thief gets a password, the victim is likely to lose a lot more than information.

Effective password management is one of the key strategies in fighting identity theft and internet-related fraud. Unfortunately, most people are not aware - or do not choose to follow - the most rudimentary "best practices" for password management.

How Identities Get Stolen

Aside from low-tech password theft � peeling the yellow sticky note off the edge of the computer monitor, or looking for the index card in the desk drawer - "phishing" - and "password hacking" are two popular identity theft practices.

1) Phishing is a widespread form of Internet piracy that "fishes" for passwords, account numbers, Social Security numbers and personal financial information, often by means of phony emails that mimic legitimate companies.

A phishing email often looks like an official request for information from a reputable website. It may appear as if it is from eBay, with the eBay logo, font specs and colors, but it is actually from an identity thief. All the links in the email take the unsuspecting user to another web page, where the user logs in - believing he is on a legitimate site - but actually giving his password or other information to the identity thief.

Strong passwords by themselves are not enough to combat phishing. Users need to be aware of phishing scams and told how to avoid them - mainly by paying close attention to the URL of links in emails.

2) Password hacking is when an identity thief guesses at passwords based on personal information, or through the use of password-hacking software. Guessing a password can be quite easy, because most people create their passwords from:

    * Their name or initials
    * A common word
    * A child's name
    * A pet's name
    * The local football team, or
    * A favorite sport or hobby

Possible Solution

Luckily, there are a few useful tools that allow users to protect themselves from losing their personal information. One of the more popular tools out there is RoboForm www.roboform.com. RoboForm is a password manager that securely saves your login information when you visit your favorite web site, including the correct login URL. So if you come across a phishing site, you may not recognize it as a phishing site, but RoboForm will NOT allow you to login because the phishing site's URL will not match what RoboForm has stored. So you have an extra layer of protection from phishers.

RoboForm also proves to be extremely helpful and efficient by allowing you to skip the manual process of typing in the URL. You can use RoboForm to automatically login to websites. When you click a RoboForm login, you go directly to the site and RoboForm automatically enters your login information for you.

With a tool like RoboForm you can now choose very secure passwords for all your sites. You remember one master password for RoboForm and RoboForm remembers the rest. This significantly increases your password security. RoboForm also comes with a Password Generator, a tool that allows you to create and save highly encrypted passwords.

What We Learned

Computer users are continuing to fall prey to hacking attempts, phishing scams, and other methods that are becoming increasingly sophisticated and well thought out. Being conscious of these methods is a good first step, but it may not be enough to thwart an attack at your identity. Learning best practices for password moForm, which protects your identity, is more important today than ever before.


About Eugene Gindin

Eugene Gindin manages internal marketing for Siber Systems Inc. makers of RoboForm and GoodSync products. Since 1999 Eugene has been involved with IT marketing, targeting the private sector as well as the local and federal government. Experienced in various forms of marketing and advertising for both domestic as well as international markets, most recently he has been advocating products that make the experience for every day internet users easier and more secure.

Digg This
Please login to add your comment
Leave A Comment
Name: