Monday, 5 January 2009

a good day to change passwords

This morning's snow added a few minutes at the start of the day, but I was still one of the first to be in the office this morning. Like many, I'd kept an eye on emails despite diversions related to dodging the flurry of opportunistic scams telling me to click on "oh so funny links" to be routed to a phishing site.

I managed to resist the temptation; its surprising how difficult it is to make robot generated email from a friend or work colleague look realistic. I'm assuming that those people originating the emails had, however, been caught in some way. It sort of confirmed my suspicion that some of the people 'in' over the last two weeks have had some spare time on their hands.

I then noticed later in the day that one of (allegedly) Barack Obama's accounts was offering a $500 prize to fill in a questionnaire and that a member of a well-known US broadcasting network was claiming to be incapacitated through drugs. Britney Spears was also making some unusual claims.

Of course, these were all examples of accounts being hacked although its not clear if there is a link with the previous 'oh so funny' links which were designed to obtain passwords.

I'm sure this will be good material for the technology hating part of the press who can revel upon the misdemeanors, like the Daily Moan did yesterday with its Twitter stories about a few celebs. I notice that someone seems to have created a @dailymail_uk twitter account on the back of this.

Anyway, I've decided its a good day to change passwords as a simple precaution and I won't be using any of the usual suspects like password, 123456, secret, qwerty, abc123, letmein, monkey, charlie, myspace1, password1, arsenal, (first name) nor any of the ones in the common password list

How different this is from life in Settle, where the owner of a shop called 'Practically Everything' took Boxing Day as a vacation but left his shop open with an improvised honesty box made out of a plastic funnel and a length of piping. Next day he returned to an intact shop and £187 from customers who had needed batteries, bags and tinfoil.

The tinfoil will be useful to wrap the great British sandwich which is as tall as a phone box as I write this.

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