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31 Jan 2019

Worst Passwords of 2018

Computer passwords aren’t something we pay much attention to. When we get to the office in the mornings, we enter our username and password and then forget about our password again until the next day. However, with increasing concerns about cyber security, many people are now paying more attention to passwords as simple step toward improving computer security.

Unfortunately, many people still aren’t aware how to create stronger passwords. This is why, for the last 8 years, SplashData has released an annual list of worst passwords. These are passwords that are incredibly weak and overused, making it a breeze for hackers to gain access to your computer files and more. 

What Were the Worst Passwords?

SplashData recently released its annual list of the Top 100 Worst Passwords of 2018. They gathered this information from more than 5 million leaked passwords. The top 10 on the list were:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 123456789
  4. 12345678
  5. 12345
  6. 111111
  7. 1234567
  8. sunshine
  9. qwerty
  10. ioveyou

Yes, that’s right; people are still using passwords like ‘password’. This is starting to be a bigger problem for businesses concerned about online threats and hackers. While using passwords like ‘123456’ might be easy to remember, it’s significantly easier for you to be hacked and have company information or your information or identity stolen. If you see your password on this list or anywhere on SplashData’s Top 100, it might be time to update your password.

What Makes a Password Secure?

Password strength can make a huge difference when it comes to protecting information online. It’s important to ensure your business and personal information are secure, and the easiest first step to be secure is by creating a strong, unique password. Password cracking becomes a lot harder when you’ve created a strong, secure password. There are a number of factors that make a password stronger including:

Length

The longer your password is, the more secure it is. It might not seem like an 8-letter password is much stronger than a 6-letter password but those extra two letters can make a huge difference. According to digicert:

  • “A 6-character password with only [lowercase] letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
  • An 8-character password with only [lowercase] letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.”

By adding just a couple extra letters you can make your password much harder to crack.

Special Characters

You might think it’s enough to have a really long password, but if you begin mixing upper and lowercase letters with numbers and special characters, you can vastly improve the strength of your password. 

Digicert found that “an 8-character password with letters (upper & lower case) and includ[ing] numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.” Adding special characters and numbers into your password can go a long way toward improving your security.

Multi Factor Authentication

Multi factor authentication is fast becoming a more popular way to improve login security. Essentially, this requires one additional step in authentication beyond the traditional username and password. This can include being sent an additional one-time password, using fingerprint recognition, swiping a card, or attaching a USB. However, these are also more time-consuming and costly solutions.

Master Password

Many of us save passwords in our browsers because we simply can’t remember them all. Unfortunately, this is a really unsafe online practice. If you use Firefox, there’s a way to secure these save passwords. Firefox’s master password requires that you enter the master password before you can use any of the saved passwords. However, this still isn’t an ideal solution because, as a general rule, you should never have your passwords saved online.

Mix it Up

Use different passwords for your logins. While it can be hard to remember a different password for every email, computer, and website login, you should try to avoid using the same password for everything. If you do use the same password, you’re making it much easier for hackers to steal sensitive information. 

How to Move Away from Bad Passwords

The problem many businesses are now facing is how to deal with weak, unsecure passwords. The best way to do away with weak passwords is to educate your employees. Many of them are probably unaware how simple it is to create a stronger password.

Your passwords are the first line of defense against data breach. Make sure your employees are using strong passwords that help protect your company’s information. If you’re concerned about network security give us a call; we can help set up a unique solution custom-built for your business.

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18 Jan 2019

Start 2019 By Building a Cyber Security Culture

As we move into 2019, we continue to rely on automated programs and technology in our day-to-day lives. With this growing reliance comes a growing concern about online safety. From personal information to threats of national security, our advancements affect us all. As we continue to rely on computers, the threat of cyber attacks will only continue to grow. 

The risk of cyber attacks and viruses is more than a threat; it’s a reality for many companies. That’s why it’s become so important for organizations to begin promoting a cybersecurity culture in the workplace. Keep your company safe online this year, follow these simple steps to help build a lasting cyber security culture.

Create a Plan

Creating a Cybersecurity Program means you need to start with a comprehensive plan. This plan should include everything from a risk assessment, to a list of current practices, to achievable goals. This will give you a framework for how to address your organization’s current state of security and an outline for how to get to where you’re aiming. To protect your company, make sure you take action by building a comprehensive cyber security plan.

Engage and Inform All Employees

Many people believe cyber security is the job of the IT (Information Technology) team. In fact, cyber security is actually the job of everyone in your organization. However, many employees are still unaware, so it’s your job to instruct and engage them.

The weakest link in cybersecurity is people. Most of the online threats your company faces will come from everyday interactions and actions online. Your cybersecurity professionals can help take care of threats as they arise, but at the end of the day, preventative security is everyone’s responsibility. To lessen the risk people pose it’s absolutely necessary to continually educate and inform your employees. You need every employee to be aware and engaged in keeping your company safe.

Continually Educate

Cyber security education is the best way to make sure everyone in your company is aware how to stay safe online and what to do in case of a cyber threat. Related to the previous point, this education should be encompassing of everyone in your organization from the top down.

You have two goals in continuing education. One is to make sure everyone is aware what his or her role is in cyber security. The second is to keep everyone up to date as online threats and your responses change. Make sure to engage your online security professionals to help create the cybersecurity education materials and to help present them. Remember you need to continually raise awareness. People need to understand the risks in order to prevent them. 

Maintain a Dialogue

It’s not enough to constantly educate your employees. You also need to give them a chance to apply new practices in their work and to continually learn. As this happens, you need to remain engaged with them. Keep conversations going and continue to inform while also leaving room for employees to explore.

Remember, your employees need to feel comfortable asking questions about cybersecurity, or looking for guidance if they’ve encountered something suspicious. Should they encounter a cyber attack, they need to feel comfortable approaching a supervisor or cybersecurity professional. In order to keep your company safe you need to build and maintain an open dialogue about cyber security.

The most important thing you can do to create a cyber security culture in your company is to make sure all of your employees are engaged, aware, and taking action to prevent attacks. Building a culture of security starts with action. You’re responsible for taking action to protect your company. 

So why not start 2019 by promoting cyber security in your business? Begin building your culture of cyber security now. Alt-Tech can help you set up a protective plan for your specific business and employees. 

If you want to learn more about cyber attacks and how to identify them, you can also check out our post from cyber security awareness month.

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