Secure and Unique Passwords

by | Security

Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife

Can you imagine Cybersecurity Companies saying, “Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife“?  We’ve all seen the meme, and if you haven’t, look to the right.   Antoine Dodsons’ sister was attacked in their apartment.  He wanted to make his neighborhood safe.  A few days later, another person was attacked and the attacker was never found.  The meme, while funny is much like cyber security in that everyone knows someone who has been a victim.  Rarely are cyber criminals ever found to face the consequences of their actions.  It’s up to you to keep yourself safe.  One way to stay safe is to use more secure and unique passwordsSecure and Unique Passwords

Lock Your Door, Lock Your Computer, Lock your Passwords

Locking the door to our homes when we leave is something most do on autopilot. If you drive to work, you automatically lock your vehicle after arriving to your destination. Checking the physical locks in our life is easy, we don’t even think twice. But what about the digital locks, did you lock them too? Does it matter? Most definitely.

Trust me, you are not alone in the never ending frustration of trying to remember your latest passwords. Even those of us who spend our careers in the IT industry can get a bit tired of it. Which is why many people often use weak passwords or use the same passwords for multiple applications or sites. We have all been guilty of this at one time or another. However, the small inconvenience of selecting secure passwords and updating them frequently is much easier to handle than a data breach. In a sobering reality check, the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that 81 percent of data breaches were caused by a password hack.  It should be noted too that the average cost of a data breach goes into the millions.

Secure and Unique Passwords with Password Management

Think of your passwords like a flood wall made up of sandbags. In one section the sandbags are eight feet tall and four feet deep. Yet, in another section, the wall is only five feet tall and two feet deep. Now, picture flood waters pushing with millions of pounds of pressure on the wall. Maybe the taller and thicker section holds, but then the waters find a weakness in the shorter and more narrow section. Within minutes, the sandbags are pushed aside by the raging waters and the whole neighborhood is buried in damaging flood waters. Like the weaker section of the flood wall, in your organization if even one member of your staff uses a weak password, it exposes the entire business to the risk of a data breach.

Password management is one way to enforce secure and unique passwords.  The applications are designed to generate separate, secure passwords for each system you access.  The user no longer needs to recall their passwords, only the one for the password management application.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  Here at 3rd Element we encourage you to use this month as an opportunity to remind your team of the importance of selecting strong passwords.  We also encourage businesses to consider moving to password management and 2 factor authentication.

TIPS FOR CREATING A STRONG PASSWORD

  • Avoid common passwords. Do not use “password,” “qwerty,” “111111,” “12345678,” “abc123,” “password1,” or any other easily guessed words/phrases for your password.
  • Use different character types. Most systems and applications these days require or encourage using upper and lowercase characters, numbers and symbols to create a strong password. Even if your systems don’t, it is still a best practice to select a password that follows these guidelines.
  • Keep it unique.  Use password management to generate secure, and unique passwords for each site and application that you use. You can record a master password in a physical notepad if needed, but be sure to store the notepad securely and away from your computer.
  • Don’t make it personal. Include things like your name, birthday, child’s name or other personal information in a password makes it that much easier to get hacked. These are all things hackers can find without much difficulty. Instead opt for unique words and characters that appear to be completely random.

Selecting a strong password is an important piece of your data security shield. Utilizing other tools like multi-factor authentication, secure networks, and practicing privacy precautions on the internet are critical to keeping your data safe. The world of technology never stops changing, if you need some advice or want an evaluation on the security of your company, give us a call. #BeCyberSmart and protect your data.

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