We can all learn a great lesson from Mark Zuckerberg: always choose a good password.
The Facebook CEO was reportedly the victim of having his social media accounts hacked over the weekend.
Zuckerberg was the latest prey in a series of recent celebrity Twitter hacks that include Kylie Jenner, Tenacious D and Katy Perry.
The hacker, known as "OurMine Team," took responsibility for taking over Zuckerberg's Twitter and Pinterest accounts briefly on Sunday.
According to the hacker, he or she was able to get into Zuckerberg's social media accounts by using the same password as the one for his LinkedIn account. And it appears Zuckerberg was among the people whose passwords were exposed when LinkedIn suffered a data breach in May.
The hacker revealed that Zuckerberg's LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest passwords were "dadada." On the plus side, it's not like he used "1234," but having the same password for multiple accounts just goes to show that Zuckerberg is just as lazy as the rest of us when it comes to setting and remembering passwords for every account we have.
At least his Facebook account wasn't hacked as well.
If we can learn anything from Zuckerberg's social media accounts being hacked, it's that we should set strong passwords that vary for each different service. Switching it up may be one of the best ways to prevent our account from one day being hacked as well.
Many platforms like Twitter (and soon Instagram) allow users to set a dual-factor authentication that requires a code sent to the user's smartphone to be entered when they log in for the first time.
While this serves as a security measure, it doesn't mean that a user's account can't be compromised. Instead, it all starts with choosing a good password. Setting a long password that combines letters and numbers is great to prevent hackers from figuring it out, but won't come in handy if it's hard to remember for the user.
A strong yet easy to remember password may include a variation of three random words that are separated by a number such as "tech9unIcorn7Blue."
But even some of these variations can be a bit weak depending on what you use. A good rule of thumb is that the longer the password is, the stronger. Aim for the password to be at least 12 characters long. Mix up the capital letters and numbers, and throw in a special character that the platform allows.
Never include easy-to-figure-out words or number combinations like the user's name or birthday.
There is a login for just about everything. Facebook and Instagram may have lots of private photos, and Twitter may be seen by many of the user's colleagues. Make strong passwords for these accounts and not the same one for all of them. It should go without saying that bank, credit card and email passwords should be extremely difficult for anyone to figure out.
However, an online retail store you purchase from occasionally might not need such a hard password to crack than the others. Just make sure credit card info isn't stored.
It might be hard to remember all these passwords, so it might be a good idea to use a password manager. Services like LastPass help users save all their passwords in one "safe" place that can only be accessed by entering a master password that is set. Then again, if this account is hacked, the user is pretty much screwed.
It may also be a good idea to change your passwords every few months. This keeps you ahead of the hacker if a data breach happens, but the hacker has your old password listed.
In Zuckerberg's defense, he has not used his Twitter in years and barely uses his Pinterest account, but it's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to choosing a password.
Photo: Alessio Jacona | Flickr