Email – malware attachments and phishing scams, but maybe not dead just yet.

Facebook – privacy, what is privacy?

WhatsApp – location, location.

Snapchat – nothing is ever truly gone forever.

There are many different ways of communicating these days (anyone remember the good ol’ times when you had to use a pen and paper and lick a stamp?) but none are totally secure. At least none of the above anyway. Allegedly.

But before you feel tempted to return to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) for your communication needs, you should be aware that medium isn’t without it’s challenges too, such as denial of service attacks and straight out mischief, as seems to be the case with the popular Freenode network.

The free opensource IRC network announced on Saturday that it had spotted an ‘anomaly’ on one of its servers, which means it is likely that someone sniffed real hard and then ran off with passwords:

“Earlier today the freenode infra team noticed an anomaly on a single IRC server. We have since identified that this was indicative of the server being compromised by an unknown third party. We immediately started an investigation to map the extent of the problem and located similar issues with several other machines and have taken those offline. For now, since network traffic may have been sniffed, we recommend that everyone change their NickServ password as a precaution.

To change your password use /msg nickserv set password newpasshere

Since traffic may have been sniffed, you may also wish to consider any channel keys or similar secret information exchanged over the network.

We’ll issue more updates as WALLOPS and via social media!”

The advice given in the announcement is sound – changing passwords now is recommended if you are one of the company’s 80,000-odd users.

But with so many breaches lately, in conjunction with the resulting necessity for a change of login credentials, it can be tricky to come up with something that is both new and secure each time.

If you need help remembering all those passwords then a password manager such as Keepass or LastPass is highly recommended. If you prefer to create your own passwords then please remember to use a broad mix of numbers, letter, symbols and a frequent change between upper- and lower-case. If you need more tips, you’re in luck – we have 10 password tips right here.

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