The Dangers of Password Selection
Passwords are put in place to protect your electronically stored files and confidential information. Choosing your password is extremely important in safeguarding these databases and should not be taken lightly. Hackers who wish to gain access to your confidential files have software that can crack your password fairly easily. If you have chosen a “weak” password, they may not even need their software to break into your system. It is important that you choose a “strong” and complicated password for both your personal and work computers and programs to protect yourself and your employers.
The dangers of a weak password selection are significant, even if you do not think you have any important information that can be stolen. Chances are, you have made an online payment using your computer or mobile device. Any breach of your system can make that information vulnerable. The same goes for your social security number, vehicle information, health records, insurance documentation, and other valuable personal information. Hackers can then use your data to falsify documents or assume your identity and destroy your financial credibility. If you are a business owner and your company database is compromised, you are endangering your client, resulting in a potentially catastrophic blow to your business and reputation.
You have the ability to make a successful breach of your data more difficult for hackers to accomplish. Consider these simple guidelines when choosing your passwords to protect yourself and those who have entrusted you with their personal information.
Do Not (“Weak”)
- Do not use any of your personal information. (ex. Name, address, birthday, car model, family members, etc.)
- Do not use a password that includes all digits or the same letter throughout its entirety
- Do not use a password that is less than 6 characters long
- Do use a password with both upper and lower case letters
- Do utilize digits and special characters (ex. Punctuation and symbols)
- Do use acronyms for familiar phrases or songs that you can remember easily (ex. “Think like a proton and stay positive” turns into “TlAP&S+”.)
- Do change your password regularly, typically every 90 days. More frequently if you maintain a large amount of highly confidential information.
According to the 2015 IRTC Data Breach Reports, a staggering 177,866,236 personal records were breached. These personal records were held through various institutions:financial, educational, medical, businesses, military, and government. In 2016, there was a 38% increase of hacking and phishing scams cases. Due to this increase, many businesses and individuals have chosen to collaborate with cyber security specialists to decrease and prevent cybersecurity risks. This type of assistance would be a valuable asset to your cybersecurity in addition to implementing your own day to day security measures and strengthening your passwords. Protect yourself and your business thoroughly. You do not need to be another victim in the notch of these con-artists’ belts.