Do your online passwords set you up for identity theft? Don’t say no until you hear what one internet security expert had to say.
If you’re like most people, you have social media accounts and you probably share, what seems like, harmless information.
Topping the list of commonly-shared personal facts is the name of a loved one, and that includes the family dog.
"I try to think of something fairly simplistic," said Brecksville artist and medical illustrator, Kelli Payto, confirming what research has indicated.
Payto also acknowledged using the same password on multiple accounts, which is something else she has in common with the rest of the online world.
"It's used for a few different accounts, just for ease..."
According to Jake Garlie, from SecureState in Bedford, keeping it simple is what puts the public at risk for identity theft.
One of Garlie’s specialties is uncovering vulnerabilities in client websites before the bad guys do, which makes him uniquely qualified to give advice.
"Come up with something that doesn't relate to you at all. It doesn't have any meaning whatsoever; it doesn't really have to be something that's a part of you," he said.
In fact, Garlie recommended forgetting about passwords altogether. He told FOX 8 Call for Action Reporter Lorrie Taylor that people should be using pass-phrases instead.
"People are using some dictionary words with some digits at the end and ultimately those are very, very easy to crack,” he said. “It’s something that's very predictable, capitalizing the first letter of the word and putting digits at the end is the most common thing that we see."
Garlie had advice for web surfers who log in to multiple websites using one password.
He recommended devising a different pass-phrase for each online account and then writing them down or entering them into an online password manager, making it easier to keep track of several pass-phrases.
Garlie said if one account is hacked, the rest will still be safe. Kelli Payto said she intends to take Garlie’s advice, as long as she can keep it simple.
"I should give it a shot, yea, I absolutely should because I'm guilty of using the same password for multiple uses; I'm guilty."