I realize that this is off topic for a photography blog, but as you are reading this on a computer, or perhaps an iPad, it becomes relevant. Over the last year there have been a large number of news stories about security breaches, such as Sony, Steam or Sega. The list goes on and on. Just search “database hacked” on google; there are a lot of bad guys out there. Not much you can do to prevent that, but you can protect yourself by using a different password at every web site. That way if a site gets hacked, the hacker can’t use your username and password at every bank web site till they find yours.
It’s impossible to remember all those passwords, so there are software solutions. I use a program called 1Password. Put simply, there is one password to rule them all. You need to remember only one password to access them all. The one password encrypts the others so they are not accessable to any one else. It is necessary to use Dropbox to make this strategy work. Dropbox is a cloud storage service that is pretty handy in any event. With Dropbox you can use 1Password to share your encrypted data with other computers that you use or the 1Password app on an iDevice. My wife uses Lastpass, also a secure solution that rolls the cloud based portion right in.
Now that your using a tool to remember all those passwords, why not use strong passwords? Don’t use “password”, for a password! Hackers have lists of commonly used passwords. A good password has uppercase, lowercase, a number, and a symbol or punctuation mark. Length matters too, longer is better. There is a great illustration of this by Steve Gibson at his password haystacks page.
Whew, I sound like kind of a paranoid geek. I like to think of myself as cautious and prepared, but in any event, my online life is a little easier and safer.