As I was reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a Kuwaiti billionaire was turning livid. Bassam Alghanim discovered that brother Kutayba had paid to have his computer hacked and all the details of his private life – emails, financial details, legal affairs – were now published on the web. Those of you who have any familiarity with Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of Dragon Tattoo, will understand why I decided to do a little research to find out exactly how hard it is to get into someone’s computer. We have a lot of information to protect, and I want to be sure that we stay state-of-the-art in the way of keeping prying eyes OUT.
Turns out, it’s very easy to snoop someone’s computer. You can hire a hack job on the web for a few hundred dollars. You can buy software to install on your own computer to record keystrokes on a remote computer that’s working on the web. You can download YouTube videos that will show you how to hack any gmail or yahoo email account, or how to trick other entities into sending you strangers’ passwords. In this way, you could reap credit card or Social Security numbers, passwords to bank or brokerage accounts, etc. Here’s a great article on the subject:
Test your passwords here:
Improve your passwords here:
Alternatively, if you have too dang many passwords to remember (no, DON’T write them down!), you can use a password vault like Roboform:
If just a few of the folks who read this blog will take some action to improve their computer security, the whole web will be a little safer. Do your part.