P@$$w0rd$ — Make Them Strong

Over the past year we have all heard stories about the giant security breach at Target.  Thousands of credit card numbers and debit card number with their PINs were stolen from the retailer’s system.  This was big news, especially during the Holiday season.  What you may not have heard about is the pizza restaurant in Delaware County, Ohio that had the same thing happen to them.  The thieves were smart in this case and waited nearly six months to begin using the stolen numbers.  The thieves don’t care about the size of your business, they are all potential targets (no pun intended).

It is not just credit card information thieves are after.  How easy would it be to become an identity thief if I could access your personnel files?  Do you think your competitors might be interested in your client files?  We all keep sensitive business information on our systems that could cripple us if a data breach became public knowledge.

As a reminder to you all, SplashData, a California security software firm, publishes a list of the twenty five worst passwords each year.  This year’s list:

Rank

Password

Change from 2012

1

123456

Up 1

2

password

Down 1

3

12345678

Unchanged

4

qwerty

Up 1

5

abc123

Down 1

6

123456789

New

7

111111

Up 2

8

1234567

Up 5

9

iloveyou

Up 2

10

adobe123

New

11

123123

Up 5

12

admin

New

13

1234567890

New

14

letmein

Down 7

15

photoshop

New

16

1234

New

17

monkey

Down 11

18

shadow

Unchanged

19

sunshine

Down 5

20

12345

New

21

password1

Up 4

22

princess

New

23

azerty

New

24

trustno1

Down 12

25

000000

New

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SplashData’s top 25 list was compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online during the previous year. The company advises consumers or businesses using any of the passwords on the list to change them immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your password STRONG

A good password is one that is difficult to guess. There are ways to make your password hard for even the best ‘hacking’ tools to figure out. Making your password STRONG (hard to guess) is a matter of being just a little creative.

  • Use CAPS – Most password algorithms recognize the difference between a capital letter and a lower case letter. A capital letter or a number thrown into a password is a good way to mix it up a bit. Even using a capital letter with your name (not the first letter!) adds a small degree of difficulty for the hacker – miKe is different than mIke and Mike!
  • Add a number – just putting a number in the password makes it harder to guess. Even if you use your name, a 6 at the beginning, end or in the middle will make it a bit more difficult.
  • Consider a symbol – Adding a symbol (Ex. – @#$!%^&*) can make it really hard on the human hacker and will slow down the hacking program. Watch out for substituting symbols that resemble the letters like the one I used in the title – P@$$w0rd. Hackers have caught on to that little trick…
  • Add one more character – with 26 letters, 10 numbers and 15 or so symbols, adding one more character to your password makes it exponentially harder to break.
  • Try a ‘pass phrase’ – using a phrase versus a word is one of the best ways to create a strong password that is easy to remember. ‘Ilivenear1234AnywhereDr’ has enough letters and characters in it to keep a hacker (human or machine) busy for a long time.

The bottom line is – security is up to you. Use passwords. Make ‘em strong. Change them regularly.

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