Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Open Letter to Gawker Hackers

Okay, hawkers, you've made your point. I should have used different passwords for each of my accounts, but it was so much easier to remember that my son's birthday followed by my blood type would access my email accounts while the last four digits of my social security number and what my driver's license says I weigh would get me onto ebay, Paypal, Etsy, You Tube, GoDaddy, Amazon and assorted sites I used in my quest to find the tastiest olive oil.

I don't remember ever visiting gawker, but apparently there was a time when I was curious about whether or not Gwyneth Paltrow might have been photographed eating carbs in a trendy Soho restaurant as I had an account. That was my undoing as having a Gawker account made it possible for you to pass yourself off as the online me.

Would you use my Etsy account to buy a hand loomed scarf? My Amazon account to push some obscure author to number one? My PayPal account to score elite tickets to "The Merchant of Venice" or a New York co-op? I was desperate to create new passwords and would now take it more seriously, avoiding using my birthday or schools I'd attended that you could know from Facebook, and not being lazy like those who grasp at the most popular passwords: 12345, password, lifehack, qwerty, abc123, 111111, monkey, consumer, 0, letmein, trustno1.

AOL provided instructions for strengthening a password, which helped me arrive at a formula impossible to penetrate. The trick is to mix capital and lower case and accompany the letters with numbers. I capitalized the second letter of Hackers to make my password a most improbable "hAckers" (clever, no?). And I split up the word by inserting my area code, 212, at different points between the letters. I don't mind telling you I feel slightly smug and just hope Julian Assange doesn't spread this around on WikiLeaks.

Seemingly the only site not penetrated by you is my web site - www.sybilsage.com. But you and everyone else should feel free to go there and buy mosaic art with complete confidence that you will be completely secure.