If you or your employees use passwords of a simplistic nature you need to stop and change them immediately!
Despite many high profile cyber security crimes over recent years it seems that the message regarding cyber security is taking its time to sink into everyday life. Passwords are the front line of your defence against cybercriminals yet shockingly many people continue to use simplistic passwords that are a hackers dream. Hacking software tries the most common passwords and codes first! The 5 most popular passwords last year were still the absolute basics ‘123456’, ‘12345’, ‘qwerty’ ‘password’ and ‘12345678’. Any passwords that use a sequence especially numerical order or words written backwards are practically useless against a brute force hack attack.
If you or your employees use passwords of a simplistic nature you need to stop and change them immediately! You face the risk of identity theft, data loss and financial fraud if you continue to use these popular but extremely weak passwords. Once a hacker cracks one of your passwords they will then attempt to use the same password across multiple sites trying to gain access to emails, banking, files and further data. It is important to use different passwords so that you do not give hackers this freedom to access multiple entry points. You need to educate your employees as to how to create safer passwords and set regulations as to how often they should change them.
One of the safest ways to create a password is to choose a sentence of phrase and then use the first letter of each word to form a password such as ‘I am a 7-foot tall metal giant’ which would be ‘Iaa7-ftmg’. An alternative is to use a password manager which will generate random secure passwords and let you save them there so they don’t need to be things which you commit to memory. No matter how secure you think your password is, its security lessens over time and with every additional place you use it so don’t be tempted to use it in another location or to keep it for more than a month. You should never store your passwords in a document on your computer, particularly if that document is called ‘passwords’. You need to store them in a secure location that is itself password protected.
Obviously having strong passwords that you regularly change are just one part of your security and defence against cyber criminals. One of the best additional elements you can introduce to secure your information is two factor authentication. You also need a strong firewall. Remember, brute force attacks can make up to 350 billion password attempts/guesses per second so whilst changing your passwords to meet the security ideas suggested in this blog might seem trivial they will certainly aid your defence should a hacker attempt to compromise your systems.