Easy passwords make blaming part easier

In the online world, passwords are there for a purpose to protect the account holder.

And that is why passwords must be so unique that no one, not even your closest friend, can crack it.

We are no longer bound by geographical or physical boundaries to gain access to our email and the whole range of social media accounts like Twitter and Facebook.

But the convenience comes at a price.

Just as it is easy for you to gain access, it is also as easy for others to hack into your account.

And we are not talking about professional hackers who take pride in breaking into sophisticated databases belonging to governments and big businesses.

Like date rape, sometimes the biggest perpetrators could well be someone you know.

Cybersecurity Malaysia says an average of eight personal accounts, blogs and websites are being hacked in Malaysia daily.

Passwords are not taken seriously, and many use passwords that are easy to guess.

The problem is complicated further by the fact that users tend to use the same password for different accounts; so once one account is hacked, every other account is vulnerable.

But this is not a new issue.

In fact, the use of obvious and easy-to-guess passwords is so common that websites publish yearly lists to remind us that we simply do not care.

For more sensitive access, like to our bank accounts or when we make an online purchase, the institutions do take extra steps to ensure the one logging in is the real account holder.

But for the vast numbers who interact in the world of social media, such safety measures may prove cumbersome.

Malaysians are now waking up to the reality that they can no longer be so nonchalant about protecting their accounts, following recent amendments to the Evidence Act, whereby the account holder is deemed to be the publisher of any material under his account unless he can prove otherwise.

There is much debate over the Act and how it will impact on our use of the Internet. These issues should be examined and the policy makers must be prepared to listen to the concerns voiced by so many.

But we must also be mindful that there is much in the cyber realm that cannot be guarded or prevented by legal frameworks.

So, if you are part of the Internet world, and you have such an obvious password that anyone can pretend to be you, then you only have yourself to blame if offensive, seditious and pornographic material show up on your account.

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