Unfortunately, cyber crime such as hacking is a common issue today in our society given that we rely heavily on computers and smart devices in most aspects of our lives. The first tip for cyber security against such a crime starts with a secure password. Many cyber criminals easily crack passwords due to the same mistakes most users make when creating them. Here’s a list of compiled tips to lower the vulnerability of your passwords:
Avoid consecutive keyboard combinations such as qwerty or asdfg. Don’t use dictionary words, slang terms, common misspellings, or words spelled backward. These cracks rely on software that automatically plugs common words into password fields. Password cracking becomes almost effortless with a tool like John the Ripper or similar programs.
Cracking security questions: Many people use first names as passwords, usually the names of spouses, kids, other relatives, or pets, all of which can be deduced with a little research. When you click the “forgot password” link within a webmail service or other site, you’re asked to answer a question or series of questions. The answers can often be found on your social media profile, so be discreet with what you make publicly visible online.
Simple passwords: Don’t use personal information such as your name, age, birth date, child’s name, pet’s name, or favorite color/song, etc. When 32 million passwords were exposed in a breach last year, almost 1% of victims were using “123456.” The next most popular password was “12345.” Other common choices are “111111,” “princess,” “qwerty,” and “abc123.”
How to make them secure:
- Be sure no one watches when you enter your password.
- Use different passwords for each of your accounts. Do NOT use the same password for two or more accounts.
- Always log off if you leave your device and anyone is around—it only takes a moment for someone to steal or change the password.
- Use comprehensive security software (Kinetix can advise and install this for you) and keep it up to date to avoid keyloggers (keystroke loggers) and other malware.
- Avoid entering passwords on computers you don’t control (like computers at an Internet café or library)—they may have malware that steals your passwords.
- Avoid entering passwords when using unsecured Wi-Fi connections (like at the airport or coffee shop)—hackers can intercept your passwords and data over this unsecured connection.
- Depending on the sensitivity of the information being protected, you should change your passwords periodically, and avoid reusing a password for at least one year.
- Do use at least eight characters of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password. Mixing them up is even better.
- Strong passwords are easy to remember but hard to guess. Iam:)2b28! — This has ten characters and says: “I am happy to be 28!” Create fun short codes, sentences, or phrases. 2B-or-Not_2b? — This one says “To be or not to be?”
- Use the keyboard as a palette to create shapes. %tgbHU8* — Follow that on the keyboard. It’s a ‘V’ shape. To change these periodically, you can slide them across the keyboard. Use a ‘W’ shape if you are feeling all crazy.
- It’s okay to write down your passwords, just keep them away from your computer and mixed in with other numbers and letters so it’s not apparent that it’s a password.
- Check your password strength. If the site you are signing up for offers a password strength analyzer, pay attention to it and follow its advice.
- Bonus Tip: A personal favorite password security app that Kinetix recommends to our clients is LastPass. We suggest investing in the password management service that stores encrypted passwords in private accounts for your personal and business’ accounts. When running a business, it is impossible to track & remember all passwords for every subscription, employee, client, etc. Work secure and smart!
For over 16 years, Kinetix Solutions has been a leading provider of Managed Services, Professional Services, Voice Over IP (VoIP), Internet Solutions, Cloud Hosting, and Custom Development. Local support teams paired with a fully staffed 24/7 Tech Support Center provide customers with a seamless and cost-effective business technology solution. Our approach allows for clients to focus on their core business or product offerings and operate smoothly. In addition to these core offerings, Kinetix Solutions also provides social media management along with access to enterprise and Business Intelligence, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Web Solutions through our industry leading partnerships. To get more information or schedule a FREE assessment to learn how we can improve your business today, call us at 855-4-TEK-NOW (855.483.5669).