Online security? Pah. Passwords are a hacker's delight


"You have a secret that can ruin your life", starts a terrifying Wired article by Mat Honan. He's talking about your password. That string of characters - "6 of them if you're careless, 16 if you're cautious" - is a cakewalk for even novice hackers to crack, and can reveal everything about you.

"Your email. Your bank account. Your address and credit card number. Photos of your kids or, worse, of yourself, naked. The precise location you're sitting right now as you read these words".

All these are in easy reach. This summer it took less than an hour for hackers to destroy Honan's digital life. Seeking the prestigious three-letter Twitter username he registered (@mat), they took down his Apple, Twitter and Gmail passwords at once - and deleted all the content on his iPhone, iPad and Macbook (including every picture he'd ever taken of his 18-month-old daughter.)

Scared yet? Since that day, Honan has trawled the web to research online security. Given $4 and two minutes on a foreign website, says Honan, he could now do exactly the same thing to you as happened to him. The lesson? Passwords don't work anymore. Better protection is vital for online security.

But in the meantime best to get rid of that "password1234".