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Passwords

Recently many of us have started receiving emails with no subject and just a link in the body of the message. The link is usually a 'shortened' link so we have no idea where that link would take us if we were foolish enough to click it. The email appears to come from someone we may know or have had contact with in the past.

So what is going on here? It is probably one of two things. The sender's computer has been compromised or what is more likely, the sender's email account has been hacked. A remote third possibility is spoofing, but since the user's address book is being used to send the spam emails, this is unlikely.

There are some scary things going on! I watched a couple of videos on YouTube that really concerns me. One is how to hack Yahoo email accounts and the other one was how to hack AOL email accounts.  (These videos have since been taken down, but a Google search for 'HackingServices.org tells the tale.) Not only that, there are a lot of videos for hacking Gmail accounts and other services. Most of these videos are by some sleazy organizations named 'HackingServices.org'. This nasty is selling programs that will steal the login credentials for email accounts and all that is necessary is for them to know the email address.

How the programs work that this scum is selling,  using the email address, the program runs until it manages to get the encrypted password form the service (AOL, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.). Then using an algorithm, it decrypts the encrypted password.  At this point the thieves can now log in to the users email account and change the password. The original owner is now locked out and the thieves can start sending emails to everyone in the owners address book. Sometimes the thieves don't bother to change the password, but just send the spam. 

Most of us have been told over and over again to change our passwords frequently. Most of us probably do not. We have also been told not to use easily guessed password, but the problem is we can't remember hard to guess passwords. We need so many passwords for so many things!

The solution to the password dilemma is not easy and won't be the same for everyone. Some folks use password keepers and that seems to help.  The problem for me is those can be time consuming to set up and what I really need is a password keeper that I can use on more than one computer.  Most of the ones that I really like are not free and have to be purchased for each computer. That can get expensive in a hurry as I have several computers.

Googling for free password keepers brings up a lot of them, so by trial and error I will choose one.

Here is a list of sites for passwords. Not exactly light reading, but important!

So what ever else you do today, change your email password to something hard! (So we won't start getting those 'no subject emails' from you!)