2012 Awareness Week: short and sweet, but stay on guard

This year, Australia’s National Cyber Security Awareness Week is a little shorter thanks to the Queen’s Birthday holiday, but still important just the same.

Hosted by the Australian government, this week is all about tips and advice to keep you secure all-year round, and we’ll be joining in with daily advice about what you should and shouldn’t do online every day, starting with this little gem right from the government’s Awareness week website:

Use strong passwords and different passwords for different uses.

We’ve gone through this one before many times, but did you know that people still use the word “password” as an actual password?

It seems crazy, but people still do it. Passwords such as “12345678” are also used in abundance, as is “111111” and “rosebud”.

We shouldn’t have to say that these are obviously not safe, and with a recent hacking of LinkedIn resulting in six million passwords broken and revealed, there’s never been a better reason to change your password.

If there’s any doubt, hit up the Australian site “Should I Change My Password” to see if your email address has been compromised in any of the hacked databases.

Passwords are relatively easy to change to something familiar, just make sure that the password term means something to you and then alternate the letters with numbers and symbols that make it harder to crack.

For instance, if you’re at all concerned about a password based on a name, say “michael66”, try adding an exclamation mark and a capital letter – “Michael66!” – or switching characters out for similar looking ones that are harder to guess, like with “M!ch@3l66!”.