Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Oofta! Passwords brought up to snuff.

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Three full days, pecking away at passwords. Every log-on has its own unique password now, a scrambled mix of 12-14 characters, with a few exceptions. Some sites, it turns out, do not allow you to change your password—those are few, though, and universally of no danger. So a hacker gets into the grocery list program and runs off his own grocery list on my account: no serious damage done. As one would expect, the sites that do business are more, well, business-like.

Around 15% of the sites in my LastPass list turned out to be gone, with a 404 message or a placekeeper page of links for various products—not surprising: it’s a volatile business. For a surprising number—perhaps 5%—I was warned not to try logging: “site not trustworthy”. They were mostly obscure sites, but one was, which has a very nice outliner that I now will not be using. I’m not so willing to take chances as I once was, following this password-fixing effort. (I did try the URL of the untrustworthy sites in both Firefox and Chrome, and both browsers warned me away.)

LastPass has a number of quirks of its own, and I definitely plan to browse through the help document to get a better understanding of some of its decisions—for example, when you register to create an account, LastPass will often store that URL as the log-in URL, which of course does not work. From now on when I save a site with LastPass, I will definitely inspect the information stored to fix such errors. On the whole, though, the program is invaluable and it’s designed so that these little tweaks are easily done.

Really, since it can generate secure passwords on the fly as you create an account, there’s no sense in having “standard” passwords—except, I suppose, for sites that you visit from a variety of computers. But that doesn’t apply to me, so I have no excuse.

This sort of mind-deadening detail work in which you have to be careful and pay attention is draining, I find. I feel totally exhausted—but very glad that it’s done.

Do check to verify that your email is not present among the (many) hacked accounts. Until businesses suffer for having poor security, this sort of thing will continue to happen: they don’t want to pay money to protect others from damage, only themselves. I personally think some laws are in order, given that the market has totally failed to address this problem.

Written by Leisureguy

28 July 2012 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

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