Email password breaking is on the rise as a way to send out spam. This is especially true with Hotmail and Yahoo email accounts, but can, and likely will, happen more broadly. It is true, and has been known, that spammers can fake the “From” address of a message and that this can cause spam to just look like it came from your address, but the more recent trend has been for hackers to break into your Webmail account and send the spam right from your email.
This trend is especially useful because they often don’t get caught in spam traps since the message authenticates normally from known good senders and servers. This method of sending spam is going to get more common over time because the attacker not only gets the opportunity to send spam but also can harvest fresh email addresses. Two things spammers find most valuable.
If you store personal information in your email or address book then you are particularly vulnerable, but even if your only asset is your address book you should help protect your friends email addresses by securing your own email account.
This is really very simple. Use a password strength meeter to test your passwords. You could just use a password generator and make a note of the password someplace safe. I like to make my own and check it at passwordmeter.com. I might start with a phrase that means something to me but not to anyone else. My wife’s name is December and as a nickname I sometimes call her “twelve.” Sometimes I say to people “On a scale of 1 to 10 December is a 12” and so this can become “oAs1-10DisA12” which scores nicely on password strength meeter.
I think most people can come up with such a password for themselves that in time will be easy to remember. The other trick is to have more than one. I use a different password for my computer than my email and another for my website, still another to edit this blog and a totally different one for most of my banking. Yes, it can be difficult to keep track and I often forget what password I used where, but as more and more of our lives are going online the more important it is to secure our information with strong passwords.
I hope you find the resources helpful. Here they are again.