Is Password Security really that important?

 In Security

Having a strong password is your first line of defense against cyber attacks.  Technology is ever-changing and unfortunately, it’s the criminals who tend to stay on top of new trends.  They are forever creating new ways to steal your identity, your personal information, bring down your website and now even hold your client information hostage!   Your best defense and starting point to keep you and your client’s safe is to use strong Password Security.

Tips on Password Security everyone should know and use:

  • Don’t write down your password and leave it in plain sight.  This tip may seem like be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how often people will write their password down on a Post It note and keep it on their monitor or under their keyboard.
  • Don’t just use one password.  It seems like everything needs a password these days.  Have you ever caught yourself saying in public how you hate having to keep track of so many passwords so you use just one for everything?  You are a hackers dream client!  It’s possible that someone working at a site where you use that password could pass it on or use it to break into your accounts at other sites.
  • Never give out your password to anyone.  They are my best friend – we share everything!  Even if they’re really good friends they can (even accidentally) share your password to others or even become an ex-friend and abuse it. If you do find yourself in a circumstance where you must share your password temporarily, be sure to change it immediately when it’s shared use is over.
  • Don’t use dictionary words – Include numbers, capital letters and symbols.   Simply using a word that can be found in a dictionary increase the chance someone will guess it. Consider using symbols instead of alphabetic characters.  Use $ instead of an S or a 1 instead of an L or include additional symbols along with numbers, upper and lower-case letters.
  • Create passwords that are easy to remember but hard for others to guess.  Just using one of these options ($1ngle) is NOT a good idea. But FBwURie2Ba$1 (short for “Flathead Beacon wants your internet experience to be a safe one) is an excellent password.  Change them up a bit on different sites.
  • Make the password at least 8 characters long. The longer the better.
  • Use a password manager.  Find a program or web service that allows you to create and store the passwords for each of your sites, but you only need to remember the one password to access their program or secure site to retrieve them all.
  • Consider multi-factor authentication. Many services offer an option to verify your identity if someone logs on to your account from an unrecognized device. The typical method is to send a text or other type of message to a mobile device registered to you with a code you need to type in to verity it’s really you. In most cases, you will not be required to use this code when logging on from a known device such as your own computer, tablet or phone.
  • Make sure your devices are secure.  You can create and use the most secure passwords known to man, but they won’t do you any good if the devices you are using aren’t maintained and up to date with anti-malware software or if your operating system is out of date.  If you use public devices, remember to log out completely.  Know your surroundings and make sure someone isn’t looking over your shoulder while you type your password in the device.
  • Watch for “phishing” attacks.  Don’t click on links if you are not familiar with why you are receiving it or who it’s from.  Even if it appears to be from a legitimate site if they ask you to log in, change your password or provide any other personal information, be very cautious.  Some links may be legit, but it’s best to “check it before you click it”.   When in doubt, manually type in the site’s URL into your browser window rather than using the link.

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