Password safety and personal security tips for webmasters and individuals.
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This site is a free resource for knowledge on password safety and personal security for both internet users and webmasters.
Don't think you need to be concerned with password security? Read the short story below to see just how bad a series of small mistakes can get.
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|Once upon a time, I was a member of a website for webmasters that sent out an interesting newsletter every couple weeks. When I signed up for the site I had to enter my email address, and create a password... Something you've done more than once, I'm sure...
Their newsletter always had my email address and password at the bottom of the email message. I knew right away that was a security risk but I didn't realize how bad it was until an error in their programming put them out of business.
One week, the site sent their standard newsletter... but at the end of the message, instead of having MY email address and password, it had the email address and password for all 10,000+ members of the site!
Almost immediately after, another message came explaining that there was an error in the script that generated the email. The email requested that everyone delete the original message. In a perfect world, that would have been the end of the story. But we don't live in a perfect world.
A couple days later another message came... The site was shutting down and the owner was being sued by multiple members whose passwords had been sent to the other 10,000+ members. Apparently those people used the same password for the site that they used for their PayPal and online banking accounts. Whoops!
Both the site owner and the individual members of this site made some critical mistakes with the way they dealt with passwords.
Luckily, before this happened I had always divided my personal passwords into 3 priority levels based on what can be accessed with the password, and how much I trusted the site owner to keep my password safe. I was glad that I used my low-trust personal password for my membership on that site.
The incident made me realize that both webmasters, web developers and Internet users need some dos and don'ts for keeping their passwords safe. Thus SafePassword.org was born.
If you're a person who frequently signs up for websites and forums, you should read our Personal Password Safety for Internet Users page.
If you're a webmaster or web developer who manages membership sites – or any sites that collect passwords – you'd be wise to follow the tips in our Password Safety and Security for Webmasters page.
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