by Eric P. Jackson

Are Your Passwords Secure?

Hardly a week goes by without news of some kind of security breach. With news of Yahoo's recent issues, which also included Gmail and others, this might be a good time to learn more about staying secure. It's also a good time to change your password, especially if your email address is on this list.

I'd love to spend the next four hours writing a blog post you'll read, then ignore, or not read at all. Instead, I'm going to beg you to read something about password security, and I'll suggest you start with this USA Today article about password security. It's a lot faster to endorse everything, I'll endorse everything Rob Pegoraro has to say in his article. And I guess time is really the problem for most people...we create bad passwords because we're always in a hurry.

Back to begging you to be more responsible. Why beg? Because it's important, that's why. Password security is a lot like backing up the data on your hard drive. It's a pain to do it and it's not a priority until something has gone horribly wrong.

So let's compromise, what do you say? For those of you without smartphones, stop reading, you're off the hook. If you do have a smartphone, I have a quick and easy (like it so far?) solution for you. First, realize that it will take you a little more time. Second, realize that passwords are always going to be a little bit of a hassle.

I began using mSeven Software's iPhone app, mSecure Password Manager, a couple of years ago. It's available for iPhone and Android users and costs $9.99. Yes, that's $10...a small price to pay for peace of mind. I'm sure you can get other apps that do the same thing. Just do something. [UPDATE: It's 2015 and now I'm a HUGE fan of LastPass.com. Heck, Keystone is even using LastPass Enterprise.]

I like mSecure's Password Manager because it keeps all my passwords backed up, accessible on my iPhone, iPad and desktop computer, they're searchable, can be organized by category and it produces passwords that would take the average desktop 928 years to crack (no joke!).

Let's have a go at this one more time: wake up and change your passwords to something other than your child's name. You'll thank me the next time there is news of a huge security breach.