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‘Whopper123′ doesn’t cut it as a password: avoiding Burger King’s fate

Online security

Paul Armstrong
Paul Armstrong runs HERE/FORTH an advisory that helps business leaders decide how to best use rapidly changing and emerging technologies. More

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Why brands don’t have rules and regulations for passwords I’ll never know. Oh wait. The majority of them do.

Yet, again a major brand has been hacked and social media gets a bad name. This time the victim was Burger King and the results were messy. The account’s profile image changed to that of competitor McDonald’s, as was the account name. While this is a massive issue for both Burger King and McDonald’s there is a silver lining. Burger King gained 30 000 followers following the hack. According to Gizmodo, the Whopper folks would have had to spend big money to get that many followers through advertising. I suspect this may provide some comfort in later days.

There are however lessons for all of us in Burger King’s social media stuff up.

If you have been hacked, then most of the leading platforms make it fairly easy to start the process to regaining control. Check out the processes for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ for example.

But don’t ever let it get to this point. It’s totally avoidable. If you don’t have a password policy, get one. Don’t know what a good password looks like? Here you go. It’s simple, effective and yeah it’s a pain to type (most likely) and you’ll get it wrong from time to time but you’ll be changing it soon so why worry?! Would you rather stay late and deal with everyone when it goes wrong?

Some other things you may want to think about/consider:

1. Does my mobile, iPad, Nook etc. auto log in?

If so, change your password and change the settings. Does it have a lock code or a password? Passwords are much better than lock codes…

2. How many people have access to the account?

Do they need it? Can I use software/settings to limit this risk?

3. Is your password good, great or the best it can be?

The best passwords make no sense and are difficult to input for a reason.

4. Am I aware of my surroundings when I am inputting my password?

Some devices show the characters before turning into the usual array of stars **** – keen eyes (or recordings) can catch this. Be aware.

5. Do I have different passwords for each account?

This is a simple one and means a domino disaster is avoided.


This article by Paul Armstrong originally appeared on Paularmstrong.net and is republished with permission.