With all the cyber-attacks lately, we receive one question more than any other:
How can I protect my computer/network?
The most common (AND most important!) answer: password…password…password. This is the easiest of all the tasks you could do to protect your computer/network and information. BUT it’s the task that a lot of people don’t place a lot of importance on.
Look at your password as the keys to your “kingdom” (your computer/network). If you had 1 key that opened everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), from personal data, pictures, financial information, emails, credit card information, etc, would you trust it with a lock you could pick with a ballpoint pen? Need a visual? Think of a bathroom lock – my siblings and I have been picking those locks since we were 6-years old. Now think of your password as that ballpoint pen. An item that is commonly found in almost every room in every house. Do you want your key to be that easily found? That is how simple a lot of passwords are. Some people even use the default passwords (see ALERT posted Dec. 8, 2014).
The top 25 common passwords of 2013:
If any of your passwords are on that list: Change It Now! This list means these are the go-to passwords that hackers will try 1st. If your password is even remotely close to any of the ones on the list: Change It Now! Just because you add a 1 or 0 or s to the passwords, doesn’t make it any more difficult to guess.
The best passwords to use: a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols. Unfortunately for you, the best password to use, is usually the hardest to remember. But think of it this way – if it’s easy for you to remember, it’s easy for a hacker to guess. A good trick: using numbers for substitutes for letters. Scuba becomes 5cu8a or $cu8a; water becomes w4t3r or w@t3r; icecream becomes 1c3cr34m or 1(3(r34m.
Also a good rule of thumb – use a different password for every site/application. Do Not use the same password for your online banking as you use for all your online shopping sites. Avoid predictable passwords
Trouble remembering all the different passwords? Check out https://www.passwordbox.com/. It’s a free password manager, which was so good, that Intel bought the company. So far it’s still free.
Or, you could check out a ECG-authenticating wristband, Nymi, which uses your own heart rhythm as an authenticator for everything from accessing email to unlocking cell phones and other gadgets. They are size adjustable, and come in 3 colours. You can reserve yours on their website for $79 until Dec. 31, 2014.
Need help with passwords? Computer already infected/hacked?
Call Technology by Design at 204-800-3166.