Anne Phillips from Barkley Legal shares her advice on setting your passwords.
Passwords are supposed to ensure that only the correct person or people can access something. In a business context this is generally for a laptop or mobile phone. However in these days of sophisticated cyber criminals a good old password can offer little or no protection against a determined and skilled hacker. However too many businesses are far too laid back in their approach to this problem and putting their business at risk.
What must you consider :
- Avoid predictable Passwords- such a family or pet names and family birthdays . Hackers can see your social media and find out details about you.
- Avoid the most common Passwords . It is hard to believe that Password and 123456 are very common after all the warnings. Replacing letters with numbers Passw0rd fools no one.
- Change the manufacturers default passwords that devices are issued with before they are used. Someone hacked into those home cameras that tell you if you have a burglar because of a failure to do this.
- Use two factor authentication (2FA) for important websites such as banking and email . Monitor even this as the best hackers can get past even these.
- Make sure all laptops, MACS and PCs use encryption products that require a password of their own.
- When available use fingerprint recognition for a mobile devices.
- Use strong passwords . All should be longer than eight characters and include a mix of random , letters , number and symbols.
- Never reuse Passwords . Every account should have a unique password. Otherwise if a hacker obtains the password they can access every account you have.
- Change your Passwords from time to time. Do not have a quarterly cycle that is easily guessed e.g. change spring234 to summer234.
- Consider using a password manager . This will put all the passwords in one place and you have to remember one Master Password. The Master Password has to be very strong .
Make sure your staff are properly trained and appreciate the risks you are taking . If you lose your data it will affect everyone – and not in a good way.