How did Christopher Chaney, a 35-year-old unemployed hacker in Jacksonsville, Florida, manage to worm into the devices of more than 50 entertainment figures—including Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera?
This wasn’t a hard hack. Chaney simply deduced passwords by looking for clues in the names of friends, kids, pets and other personal information gleaned from celebrity magazines, websites and Twitter and Facebook posts, and then relied on password recovery features of Yahoo!, Gmail and Apple. He then set up an automatic forward of the celebrity’s emails to himself—a program that would continue to work even if the celebs should get security conscious and upgrade their passwords. Pretty nifty, huh!
Lesson Learned: Passwords should also be passcodes—with numbers, letters and ASCII code. And don’t use the names of your dog, cat or pet iguana.