Riddle For Passwords

I am individual, identifiable, inert and invisible, while at the same time impartial, imperative, and immensely important.

But I am not impervious to improper imposture if inadequate or imprudent.

What am I?

SECURITY AND PASSWORDS

It is crucial to maintain an e-commerce shop in such a way that unauthorized individuals cannot gain access to your site and to the site management pages, including your customers’ personal information. Not only is it important to establish a good e-commerce shop password but also it is important that you take measures to insure your computer is secure.

The Importance of a Good Password

Recently, the Associated Press released a news story about a group of criminal hackers planning an attempt to deface 6,000 web sites in six hours on a specific day. (Defacing is where someone breaks into a site, posts porn pictures on the home page, slogans, etc.) Currently, the easiest way for someone to deface an e-commerce site, particularly web mall sites, is to attempt to gain access by guessing an e-commerce site or individual online shop’s password, and once they guess it, to go about changing important shop information such as the shop tag line, introductory text, featured item pictures, etc.

Your individual password is critical to maintaining a secure e-commerce web mall site or individual online shop. A weak password makes it easy for criminals to guess your password, enter your site or shop, and do whatever they want to it: email your customers, change your pictures, perhaps shut down your shop, delete items – you name it.

Guidelines for Choosing a Strong Password

Main rule: Never give out your password to anyone for any reason, even to the owners of the e-commerce mall.

1. Use numbers in the middle of the password.

2. Using longer passwords is more secure than mixing capital and lowercase letters, plus all lowercase is easier to type.

3. Use a minimum of six characters.

4. Do not use a dictionary word as part of your password.

5. Do not use names of people, pets, or places.

6. Don't use parts of your address or phone number, or any other information that others have easy access too.

7. Use things only you know, for example, the year you acquired a pet might be a good thing for part of a password because generally even close friends don’t know this type of information. Using a relative's
birth year or your favorite color is not secure because this information is easy to obtain and close friends or family may know these.

8. Don't use the same password on all web sites. We know this is a pain, but often many employees at a web site have access to your password. You do not want them to have access to your personal information at other web sites as well.

Can't Think of a Good Password? Here's A Handy Trick:

One of the best ways to create a password is to use the first letter of a phrase, for example:
- iltsarp could be a password for "I love to shop at Rosie’s Place"
- msjh2g for "My sister Joann has 2 girls"

Examples of Weak Passwords:
- dictionary words: antiques, password, baseball
- your email address - any buyer has your password
- your first name
- your shop nickname
- dictionary words with 1 at the end
If you have a weak password, please take the time to change it NOW.

Caution Using Public Forums

Public forums can be fun and informative, but they also expose you to individuals who for any reason might decide they would like access to your e-commerce site or online shop. Generally all of information in an online forum is public; do not ever divulge security information to anyone – even if you know him or her – for any reason, in a forum type setting.

Physical Computer Security

Most people can't imagine how or why someone they know would want to access their shop, but it happens. For example, if your ex-wife is getting your computer in the divorce, or if your son will be taking your old computer off with him to college, be sure that all of the data on it is completely removed before parting with it. And remember that if your computer is lost or stolen, someone may have access to your shop. We know of an actual case where the computer was included as part of the sale of an antique shop, and the new owner went to the sellers e-commerce site and changed all of the registration information for the original owner by mistake!

One way to protect yourself in the event that your computer is lost is to turn off the Remember My Password option when signing into your e-commerce site or online shop, and by removing crucial passwords from the Settings folder of your browser. That way if your computer is lost, your passwords will not be readily available to whoever uses it.

Backing Up Data

To protect yourself in the unfortunate event that your computer is lost, we strongly recommend that you back up all of your shop inventory data on a regular basis. CD-R (record once) and CD-RW (record many times) drives are very inexpensive these days, and will hold up to 650 megabytes of information. This is a great way to archive your photos too. If possible, store this data elsewhere so should there be a fire or some other catastrophic event and your computer is damaged or destroyed, you will have the data to upload to a different computer.


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