Password hack shows why parents need to teach Internet security

Adobe passwords hack: 2 million passwords leaked after an attack on software giant Adobe remind parents that password security is a parental responsibility, along with teaching kids how to cross the street and why you shouldn't wear black shoes with brown slacks.

Screen shot of
Password hack: Hackers have obtained the passwords of 2 million Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, and other website users.

There's no escaping the importance of computer security, as much as it would be nice to. A Business Insider report describes the aftermath of a recent hack on the software company Adobe:

This stash of 2 million passwords follows a massive hack on Adobe revealed in October in which a jaw-dropping 38 million user accounts and passwords were nabbed and posted to the 'net. That attack was so big that other website vendors were affected, because many people use the same user name and password for all of their websites. 

Unfortunately, this hack isn't new (see also the LinkedIn hack, the Ubisoft hack, and the Cupid Media hack, for a tip-of-the-iceberg starting point), and as long as there is money or power to be gained from accessing other peoples' online identities, it seems unlikely to ever stop being a problem.

And while this doesn't seem like a parental problem per se, it really is – it falls under our "important stuff we need to teach our children" heading, right up there with crossing the street and why you shouldn't wear black shoes with brown slacks.

It's no longer enough to assume that because kids are young and wired, they're with it vis-a-vis good password discipline – that means (really) strong passwords, different passwords for different sites, and, if you must, hoard a list of all your logins and passwords, stashing it an incredibly safe hiding place, preferably in the real world and out of plain view.

And even then, you can't  assume just because you've got a password that you're assured of online security – talented hackers can crack through even seemingly tough-to-guess passwords like "n3xtb1gth1ng" or "qeadzcwrsfxv1331."

On the flip side of that are the passwords that people more often use – easy to remember, and insanely easy to crack. Some of the Adobe passwords now in the hands of hackers include (get ready to probably feel at least slightly better about your own password habits) "password," "photoshop," "aaaaaa," and "123456" (as featured in Spaceballs!).

Even relying exclusively on passwords like "Xh3@#..Lpmz0" won't keep you totally safe, so for the highest risk sites (a primary email or Facebook account) using a second layer of authentication is a great idea whenever possible (Google does a good job of this with its 2-step verification process.)

Perhaps, with a solid generation of parental guidance, we can at least somewhat beat back the stolen password trend that leads to identify theft and (often) actual things and money-theft. Now, if only there were some way to effectively teach teens that whatever they post or send will inevitably wind up in the most embarrassing forum possibly imaginable...

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Password hack shows why parents need to teach Internet security
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today