Over the holiday weekend, The Fox News Politics Twitter account had its password compromised. The unauthorized person or persons then proceeded to Tweet about the fictional death of President Barack Obama, in a series of relatively detailed tweets depicting the location and nature of the gunshot wounds. Of course, they were faked, but that didn’t stop quite a few people from blindly retweeting the news.

A compromised Twitter account is not big news. This is, however, a good opportunity to remind everyone that they should have a really good Twitter password; major media outlets should be even more conscientious of their password policy.

If you have been using the same Twitter password for years, you should consider changing it once in a while. Also, make sure you don’t use the same password for all of your accounts—a compromise on any of the accounts means you have to remember all the sites you shared that password with. A good password should be at least 8-10 characters long, and should contain at least one number and one special character. A password made up of a series of words is not a good password. Mypasswordislong would not make a good password. MyP@ssw0Rd1sL0NG! would be MUCH better.

So, in sum: Welcome back from the holiday weekend, President Obama isn’t dead, and make sure you have great passwords. The end.



One response to “No, Obama isn’t dead. A good password reminder

Posted by lincolnwebs

I go further than that and say 10 characters is the *minimum* for anything, and passwords for privileged accounts (like server shell accounts) must be 12. This is especially dangerous to custom software makers who don’t have rate limiters on login attempts. These days it takes less than an hour to brute-force a 8-character password if you can try an unlimited number of times (thanks to ever-evolving processor speeds).

Posted on July 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm

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