The thousand-dollar penalty for reusing passwords


Woody leonhard
By Woody Leonhard

You can find no end of advice on creating strong passwords, using clever tricks, stats, mnemonics, and such.

But all too frequently we (and I include myself in this rebuke) tend to reuse little passwords at what we think are inconsequential sites. It’s a big mistake — here’s why.

This story is true. As the admonition goes: only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I live in a small town a couple of hours away from a big city we’ll call Metropolis. There are several daily newspapers in Metropolis, and one of the largest (let’s call it the Daily Planet) boasts a very nice website. The people who create and maintain the Daily Planet site are excellent designers and programmers — but they aren’t security experts.

One of Metropolis’s citizens is a regular guy named, oh, Joe. He’s pretty good with computers, and he knows enough to use strong passwords on bank and stock-market sites.

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Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.