Most people assume their passwords are secure, but in truth, most passwords are extremely predictable. Why is that?
Well, most individuals begin with a normal password, something simple to remember. Maybe they substitute a letter with a symbol or add a capital letter. They could substitute a letter with a number, or if they’re feeling very creative, they’ll add punctuation.
What they don’t know is that—in a matter of seconds— a hacker may break that code and put you and your whole company in danger. How does this happen? Let’s find out, let’s look at a case study of Carol;
Carol is a dentist. She operates a busy practice and prides herself on keeping her patient data and company documents secure between appointments. During lunch, Carol takes a break and checks her social media account. She uses a version of her normal password – the one she recalls since it’s her daughter’s name. Sometimes she makes the “A” uppercase, but this time she’s using a symbol instead. Clever Carol.
She doesn’t realise it, but she just created a doorway to the dark web and a criminal breaches her social media account and obtains her precise password or credentials. They then sell her credentials on the dark web to the highest bidder who reverse-engineers every potential variant of her usual password, revealing her bank account, employee information and patient information.
All of this puts her company in jeopardy, yet this scenario can be prevented.
How to prevent your password hacked
- Use Strong Passwords
Nothing you do online is secure unless you use strong passwords that really safeguard your information. Most individuals use the same password everywhere, and their password is simple to guess. You’d be astonished how many individuals use the password “ABC123” or “12345”. Using a password like this is almost like begging to get hacked.
You may be encouraged to incorporate unusual characters like exclamation marks or hyphens in passwords to make them stronger. This is useful, but it’s not enough. Passwords like “Rover2015” and “R0v3r2015” are really the same strength. This is because their length is the same.
For true safety, it’s far more important to use LONGER passwords. Each extra character increases the amount of time for a hacker with a supercomputer to guess your password. A 16-character alphanumeric password is substantially stronger than an 8-character password with special characters. Of course, you can also put in special characters to make it tougher to guess.
- Use Multiple Passwords
In addition to setting strong passwords, you must use a separate password for each website you visit. If a hacker does acquire access to one of your passwords, you don’t want them to get into ALL your accounts.
If it feels like a great strain to remember all your new, lengthier passwords, that’s because it is. But there are tools you may add to your browser that can make this simpler. Whether you use a browser add-on or not, it’s vitally essential to use longer passwords and a separate password on each page.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
This next one makes a tremendous impact! Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible, particularly for your most sensitive data — like email, social networking, or cloud storage accounts.
Two-factor authentication provides additional protection to your password, so even if someone knows your password, they need something else to log in as you. Usually, there is a security code that’s given to your phone, which means to log in someone requires your password AND your phone.
Most email or social networking services provide this security option. When they do, you should utilise it.
- Do NOT Plug-In Devices/Accessories From Strangers
One last bit of advice: don’t plug in a gadget or accessory from a stranger. If someone offers you a memory card for your computer or even a USB power cord for your phone, it might infect your device with a virus the instant you plug it in. The individual delivering it to you may not even realise that their plug is contaminated.
Of course, sometimes you don’t have a choice, and most of the time it’s probably not a huge problem but you should be aware that every time you connect anything to your computer or gadget, you run a slight risk.
If you would like to learn more about Business Technology and how we can help to make sure your data is secure, please click through for more details on our team and our services or give us a call on 021 531 5180.
Doing business better. Together.