Surfing The World Wide Waves, a weekly article, problems with e-mail security
How not to make it too easy for hackers to read your e-mails
Many people have e-mail accounts and enjoy writing to their friends every day, but little do they know about the dangers of hackers or people who have too much time on their hands. A few weeks ago while I was on the computers it struck me how simple it might be to enter someone's account. I therefore wondered what methods there were of finding passwords.
We all receive many forwards, chain letters and so on. Sometimes there are some which are like a form asking many harmless questions about your hobbies, favourite foods etc. and you fill these in without thinking very hard. Some of them even include questions such as "What is your dream vacation spot?" or "What would you buy if you won the lottery?" Notice anything? That's right! They are the same questions as the ones that e-mail providers suggest for the password hint. By sending out this information, you invite people to attempt a break-in..
Getting to know people is another good way of getting passwords. For example one person's hint was "Who do I like" and if you know the person, it won't take too long to figure out the password.
Since I have my own laptop, I am safe from this threat. But many times in the computer room I have seen some people leave the browser window open. This may seem fairly harmles but you're encouraging someone to use your account to send messages under your name. If it happens to be someone honest using the computer after you, then nothing bad should happen. But if it is someone who is bored, angry or just has a twisted or cruel sense of humour, then they may insult a person to whom you were writing. These sorts of pranks can destroy an e-mail friendship without your even knowing why.
I hope that I have successfully demonstrated that care should be taking in choosing a password and also that you should log out and close Internet Explorer or other browsers before letting someone else use the computer.
safe surfing/ surf's up/ logging out for now.
Article by Richard Azia
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