Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Complicated usernames add such a small benefit to your online security that it's hardly worth the effort. Better to focus on the basics.
Does using complicated usernames add anything to the security level?
In this excerpt from Answercast #33, I look at the small benefit that a complicated username could give to your security efforts and recommend that you put your energies elsewhere.
No. Not really.
The problem is that hackers usually aren't trying to guess your username. Usually, that's something they already have.
Usernames are commonly easily visible. They're not obscured when you login to whatever service you're using, and they are just not that hard to get.
Email addresses are a great example. If they don't have a set of email addresses to work from, hackers or spammers may very well start with the obvious.
Leo @ justaboutanything gets a lot of spam,
Because they assume that everybody likes to have their first name as their email address.
As a result, they have a long list of first names,
And they start spamming email to those first names at just about any domain they can think of or they can find.
So, of course, if you have a completely random set of characters as your email address, as your email username, you're likely to get less spam.
But in all honesty, it's not really worth to me.
Email addresses are things that really identify you to other people. They're useful to be something simple like your name.
In other cases, when you're logging into a bank or when you're logging into services where your username is, theoretically, something you and the service would see?
Yea, I suppose it could add a little bit of security.
But in reality, I just don't see it as adding that much. I would much rather see the effort put into:
Making sure you've got strong passwords
And are following good practices for keeping yourself on the internet.
Next from Answercast 33 – Why does CCleaner clean up Internet Explorer items when I don't use Internet Explorer?
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