‘Iloveyou’ is fifth most common computer password

12 Feb 2010

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Roses are red, hackers are shrewd, use the wrong password and you’ll get screwed! Valentine’s Day this weekend could be a bigger day for hackers than it is for Hallmark, according to security experts.

A decade on from when the infamous I LOVE YOU virus spread across the known internet and it seems most computer users are still fairly predictable – and soppy – when it comes to password protection, says IT security player Imperva.

‘Iloveyou’ is now the fifth most common password, ‘lovely’ is No 18, ‘loveu’ is 23 and ‘loveme’ is No 43.

Valentine’s Day hack attacks

Imperva CTO Amichai Schulman says that this year hackers will likely concoct a special Valentine potion that uses the promise of being secretly admired combined with our prevailing addiction to sharing personal information on social networks, like Facebook. How will it work?

First, hackers easily get a complete list of friends for many users. Then, hackers send to that certain someone a Valentine message seemingly coming from a friend. Urged to click a Valentine’s card to retrieve virtual chocolates or roses, you, uh, end up with a virus.

“The success of such a campaign is in numbers. For this, the hacker adds a key ingredient – automation. Using an automated tool, the hacker scrapes a friends list from Facebook, as well as turns them into a phishing mail, all in a single click of the mouse, to spread their virus.”

Shulman continues, “What can you do? First, look up who sent you the Valentine’s greeting and make sure it’s legitimate. Chances are your fifth-grade teacher did not and still does not have a crush on you. Chances are your football coach really isn’t into that mushy-mushy stuff. Chances are your neighbour isn’t suddenly into knowing you intimately.”

Amichai requests that lovers take to heart these recommendations:

·       - Do not follow links or download software referencing unsolicited spam.

·       - Update your computer with the latest patches.

·       - Ensure your anti-virus is enabled and up-to-date.

·       - If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Nothing bad will happen if you simply hit ‘delete.’

By John Kennedy

Photo: Back in Victorian times, couples didn’t have to be concerned with computer viruses. Today, individuals should, as always, exercise caution when it comes to opening Valentine’s Day messages sent to them electronically

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Buy your tickets now!

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com