Hackers break into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! account

According to the Associated Press (AP), hackers broke into the Yahoo! e-mail account that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin used for official business as Alaska’s governor. The reveals a general mistake that most of us make on a regular basis.

Electronic mail, or email, is something that we very often take for granted. These are some of the common e-mail mistakes that most of us make on a daily basis with regard to managing our e-mail activities:

  1. Emotional emails. We write things that we should not be writing, because we are emotionally venting. Often, we use e-mail as a method of therapy to get things off of our mind, but we should never send these e-mails because they can get circulated and manipulated in that circulation process. How many times have you written an e-mail that has come back to bite your or haunt you? In general, we need to slow down, reread our emails, and think three times before clicking that send button.
  2. Carbon copy (cc). Too often, we copy too many people on an e-mail message. Consequently, too many people get involved in subject they should not. Or, you clog up everybody else’s emails with trivial e-mail so the important ones slip through the cracks. Moreover, like the paragraph above, we copy somebody on an e-mail that we later regret. Finally, when we copy or blind copy too many people on an e-mail, it often gets tagged or labeled as SPAM and never reaches its intended target audience. In general, we should minimize the number of people that we copy on an e-mail.
  3. Password insecurity. We tend to use the same easy to crack password over and over and over on all user accounts. It becomes almost predictable what our userid and password may be. Unfortunately, we tend to use these same passwords for our banking accounts and credit card accounts and other very sensitive personal and financial accounts. If somebody can crack out e-mail account then it becomes very easy to crack our bank account because all you have to do is ask the bank to resend your password to your e-mail account and boom, bank account is cracked.
  4. Unsecure e-mail accounts. Instead of using secure, encrypted, private e-mail accounts which sometimes cost money, are more difficult to set-up, and require a tiny bit of technical skill to manage, we become lazy and use social networking e-mail accounts through venues like AOL, Yahoo (ymail), and Google (gmail). The problem is 3 fold; (1) They are easier to crack and hack into, (2) These venues actually read the words within our e-mail and deliver context-sensitive advertising, (3) They tend to lack the fundamental security standards necessary in the conduct of proprietary business practices.

So, lets take a lesson from Governor Sarah Palin’s e-mail malpractice and take better control of our own e-mail discipline.