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Cyber Security Tip – Number 1

Tip #1:  What is a strong password, and why do you need it?

Welcome to the first of our cyber security tips emails. Each week I will give you specific, actionable advice to help you avoid being the victim of a cyber crime. Yes – there are bad guys out there who want to steal from you. At a minimum they are going to cost you time, and it can be highly embarrassing. At worst, it can cost you thousands of pounds in hard cash, and possibly your job.

We all know that without password protection, nothing is safe but we frequently use insecure passwords to protect our valuable data and to provide access to our technology.

So get focused, here we go…


Background

Thanks to powerful brute-force-attack software readily available online, hackers can quickly and easily try tens of millions of possible password combinations per second. For example, hacking software can guess a five-character password in under three hours. If you only use lowercase letters, it’s 11.9 seconds!

You KNOW you need to have a better password than “password” or “letmein” if you have any hope of keeping hackers out, but what does a “strong” password mean? A good password should be at least eight characters long (or longer!) and have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that are hard to guess. Don’t use dictionary words with proper capitalisation because they’re easy to guess (like Password123!). Even though it meets the requirements we just discussed, it’s easily hacked; remember, hackers have sophisticated password-hacking software that will run 24/7/365.

Action

How do your current passwords rate?

Next time, I will explain how to choose a good password. So this week’s action is to make a list of your online accounts that might have bad passwords (you will need this later).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

Posted with permission by Vermont.co.uk.