On November 3, 2015, Anonymous Philippines hacked Maine Mendoza’s Twitter account.
On March 27, 2016, LulzSec Pilipinas hacked (Comelec) Commission on Election’s database. The group leaked the database on Facebook and later on posted a download link via torrent.
If you think the Comelec database dump is harmless, think again because on May 16, 2016, actress Myrtle Sarrosa’s email and social media accounts were hacked. The hack almost compromise Sarrosa’s bank accounts.
The hacking of Sarrosa’s accounts could be rooted from the Comelec database hack.
These hackings are just few of the recorded cybercrimes that recently happened in the Philippines. And these hackings are very alarming because these proved that hackers are becoming much bolder even though one of Lulszec Pilipinas’ leaders named Jonel de Asis was arrested.
With the sensitive information dump of Comelec database on the internet, it is possible that anybody could have downloaded the database. And what is more alarming is that international hackers and syndicates could have downloaded the database.
What can you do?
You as a regular citizen should be very cautious of your digital security. One thing that you can do is to use a strong password.
It’s not difficult to create a strong password, you just have to follow some guidelines on creating one.
We always hear “Use a strong password”. But what is a strong password really? And how do you create a personally memorizable one?
First, let us look into weak password examples:
- Common passwords: qwerty, 123456, password, abc123, qwerty, monkey
- Short passwords: 1-6 characters are easier to crack
- Passwords with dictionary meaning: reddog, bluebag, blackcat — vulnerable to dictionary attack
- Passwords using personal information: juan120590 — never use a birthdate as your password.
How to Create a Strong, yet Personally Memorizable Password
Here are some guidelines in choosing a password:
- Use at least 12 characters
- Use at least one uppercase alphabet character
- Incorporate number(s)
- Add special character(s) or symbol(s)
- Randomize the sequence
You can always use your own method in creating a strong password, but so far, initialism and substitution method is the most effective in terms of effectivity and ease of personal memorization. Here are some examples where you can build your strong, yet memorable passwords:
- Nursery Rhyme (sounds funny but I will give an example later)
- Song lyrics
- Book passage
And here’s a guide on making it memorable:
- Use a code that you can understand
- Substitute characters
I have used the initialism and substitution method in creating strong passwords below:
There are also other ways to generate a strong password using online tools but depending on your memory, it might take time to memorize:
Tools you can use to find out how strong your password is:
- Mozilla Firefox’s Password Quality Meter. This tool is easy to access if your browser is Mozilla Firefox. You just have to go to about:preferences#security > security > Logins > Click on use master password >
2. Roboform Password Tester. Aside from rating your password’s strength, this tool also gives you recommendations on making your password stronger.
But digital security is not just about your password’s strength. You should also:
- Be cautious in logging in devices, especially if you are using a public computer.
- Use a unique password in each important account
- Avoid phishing sites, malwares and spam emails
- Keep up-to-date with data security news.
And you’re good to go.