Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Importance of Password Security

Passwords are everywhere.  From your Windows login to your banking software, to the online store where you purchase your "can't put down" books from; everyone wants you to log in with your special login.

But how "special" is your login?

It's simple.  We are busy people with lots to do; so to remember long, secure passwords may not be high on our priority list.  And if we have to have a different one for every site or device that requires one, then we are really in trouble.  After all, we aren't just speaking of websites, but phone apps, computer logins, email accounts, and well...you understand.  The list can be endless.


So how can we make things easier for ourselves and harder for the criminals? Let's break it down into 5 easy steps.


First, Don't Share Your Login.

As simple as it sounds, it's a very common problem.  It could be a matter of you giving your login to a best friend, or it could also be a case of 8 employees all logging into a network using the same username and password.  Either way, you're setting yourself up for disaster.

Next, Make Your Password Secure

Believe it or not, password is still one of the most commonly used passwords. It actually was the second most common password for 2014, preceded only by 123456 that came in at #1.  Others include 12345, qwerty, and letmein.  For a complete list, visit gizmodo.com.

Best password practice would recommend that your passwords are 8-12 characters long and include alpha, numeric and special characters.  Using both upper and lowercase is also good practice.  A perfect example might be: h*3Dxy8vM.

Worried about remembering your password?  There are multiple sources available for password keepers.  Just always look for one that is secure and from a reputable publisher.

Our Next Recommendation is Locking Your Desktop

This may be the easiest of them all.  If you're walking away from your desk, "Just Lock It".

In the "good ole days" when security wasn't an issue, we would leave our desktops unlocked and leave.  When we returned, we would have strange replies to emails that were sent from our account.  We always knew who the usual suspects were and it was all in fun & humor, but now, leaving your computer available for anyone's access is just not safe.  Information is more critical than ever and customer data is everywhere.  It's our job to protect both our company and our customers.

Let's Not Use the Same Password for Every Account

If someone steals your only username & password, they could access everything you own.  Many of us are guilty of using one login for everything.  When you add that to the simplicity of our passwords, we have just done a major portion of the legwork for the criminals.  Use different credentials for different sites.

Finally, Don't Use Your Username as Your Password

Again, this is done as a time-saver and for ease, but you are only making it easy for the password stealers.  Your password should be unique, only used as a password and nothing else, and only by you. 

Unfortunately, we are in a time where malware and viruses are accessible everywhere as little bots do nothing but infect networks and break passwords all day. And the sad truth is that, for some, creating these infections is a full-time job.

If you are concern about your network or how to determine where your network stands on security, contact a local IT provider, such as CMS IP Technologies in Beaumont and set up an appointment for a no-obligation network evaluation.
 

12:19 PM