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I’ve been called “The Password Nazi” because of how stringent our password policies are. On all our corporate phone systems, users are not allowed to use the same password as on any other system; the password has to include upper and lower case letters, at least one number and at least one special symbol; it has to be changed every 30 days; and it can’t be repeated. The reason for these measures is to prevent something exactly like the Gawker incident. Our VoIP service allows users to make phone calls anywhere on the planet, so the cost of a security breach could reach tens of thousands of dollars within a couple of hours.
Besides passwords, I think one of the biggest concerns for 2011 will be unauthorized access to financial information. This could be by phishing for passwords, or from a nearby Bluetooth device or because of the RFID chips that are now installed in many credit cards. Someone could walk by, read the RFID chip on your Visa card, go to an online store and go crazy.
On a more personal note, I’m also concerned about the growing lack of privacy on the Internet. In general, it’s hard to retain privacy unless you want to live off the grid and pay for everything with cash. But it’s a lot harder than it was even five years ago, before Facebook. Personally, I don’t use Facebook or Twitter. I know how to find information on the Internet and by walking to the County Clerk’s office, and I assume others do too, so I try not to leave those kinds of trails. But more and more, things I use every day, such as my BlackBerry, have the ability to intrude on my privacy with things like location services, even when I don’t want them to.
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