Keystone Keyboard

Computer Info You Can Live With

December 17, 2001


Some Cracker Wants You


Why It’s Time To Change Your Passwords


R ecently, my computer was the direct target of a cracker. While the firewall I was using prevented him from doing harm to my computer, his attack did lead me to conclude that all of us need to do more to protect our computers. Oh, I know what you are thinking: “I don’t have anything on my computer that a cracker would want!” Really? Is your Social Security number anywhere on your computer? Your credit card number? Your bank account number? Most of us would have to answer yes to at least one of these questions.


By the way, crackers are not usually looking specifically for you. They use software programs that search the Internet for unprotected computers. Then, when the software finds one, the cracker attempts to get into your computer and take whatever information can be useful. Oh, that’s a scary thought, isn’t it? You might ask, “Why don’t I just forget the Internet and then I won’t have to worry about that?” I would respond, “Because there are far too many valuable things at your fingertips on the Net to just give it up.” If you owned a convenience store, would you simply close the doors because one person shoplifted a candy bar? Probably not. You’d take steps to lessen the chances of it happening again.


With that thought in mind, I’m going to be sending out, over the next few weeks, information on how you can protect your computer and yourself while you surf the net. I hope you’ll take the time needed to read the information and that you’ll e-mail me or call me with any questions or concerns you might have.


Today, I want to address the issue of passwords. As you know, many sites on the Net and some programs just on your computer require the use of a password. Often, what we do is simply choose a password that is easy for us to remember. Unfortunately, those types of passwords are usually pretty simple for crackers software to figure out. Yes, that’s right. Crackers have software that tries password after password - entire dictionaries in fact - until it figures out your password. NOT good!


Are you still with me? Still reading? I hope so. I want to direct you to an FBI site with an article called “Password Protection 101" Please take the time to read it. If you adopt their password method, you’ll increase the likelihood of a cracker not being able to get into your computer up to a trillion to one. Oh, and I know this reading may be a little dry - perhaps even “boring.” But, it is important especially as we use our computers on line more and more.


Here is the site - if you can’t simply click and go to the site, please cut and paste the address into your browser:



This page updated January 21, 2005.
©2005 Keystone Keyboard