mid-day editorial: Passwords are not to be passed on

An MBA graduate who broke the basic rule of cyber safety and shared his password with a stranger was rewarded by a visit from the police after his Internet connection was used to harass a young couple in his society.

This paper’s front-page report yesterday highlighted how he was blamed after his Wi-Fi network was used to harass the couple by creating fake Facebook profiles for them and uploading pornographic material there. When the police questioned him, the man realised he had disclosed his password to his neighbour’s visitor. He suspected the stranger might be responsible for the crime, but with no way to prove his innocence, he was charged instead.

The law says you have to protect your Wi-Fi and its password. If your Internet connection is used for any criminal activity, it is you who will be investigated, questioned and even booked, whether you committed the crime or not. In this case, the man paid the price for being too trusting when he revealed his password to a stranger. But misuse of your connection is not the only danger; people must password protect themselves against hackers too.

Put more thought into choosing your passwords. Listen to expert advice and steer clear from obvious passwords like spouse names or hobbies, which are easy for hackers to guess. Remember, it is up to you to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to outwit you and crack your password.

Become educated and aware of what cyber rules say. Also, do not be trusting of acquaintances asking for your password for some or the other reason. We are sometimes lax and might reveal the password to somebody, either in conversation or when asked to, and many see no harm in this. But cops advise that if you do reveal your Internet password to somebody for any reason, at least note down their details. Ignoring this will be at your own peril — the MBA graduate learnt this the hard way.

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