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Is Your Password Compromising Your Security?

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With so many threats to look out for, some business owners make the mistake of thinking that a simple security tactic such as your password is ineffective – but that’s not true. Your password is your first line of defence, keeping hackers and other intruders from accessing devices, resources, and applications that could seriously compromise data.

Password Security

However, trying to decide on a ‘strong’ password has become increasingly complicated. Many of the tricks and tactics suggested by experts over the years have proven to be less than effective. As it turns out, it’s not just the target audience taking this advice to heart; the hackers have been listening, too.

It may be easier to cover what doesn’t work these days than what does, so let’s start there:

  • Long passwords don’t work, because if you impose a specific character limit, most people will select a password that it exactly that many characters. Knowing how many characters are in your password makes it possible for a hacker to narrow the possibilities from billions to thousands.
  • Complicated passwords don’t work well, either. By forcing a person to include numbers or symbols, there is a tendency for most people to create a similar pattern with the position of capitals, numbers, and symbols within a random string, or make common substitutions with numbers and symbols. Hackers know to looks for these patterns and substitutions.
  • Surprisingly, setting passwords to expire does more harm than good. It results in people taking shortcuts. For example, using password1, password2, password3 etc. out of sheer frustration at constantly having to update and then try to remember new login information. Passwords start off weaker than would be preferable, and then become even weaker due to the predictable pattern.

So where exactly does that leave you? The recommendation going forward is relatively simple; use a password that is unique to you – but not something obvious like a birth date or pet’s name – and don’t use the same password for multiple websites or services.

If the idea of having to remember dozens of different passwords does not appeal to you, you should consider using password management software. There are great options on the market for low cost, and you’re able to gain peace of mind knowing you’ve added an extra layer of managed protection.

For individual users, software like LastPass, KeePass, Roboform, or PasswordSafe are a good place to start.  For businesses, we recommend an enterprise level password security solution, which tracks who has accessed which passwords, for example.

Don’t let something as simple as password security slip through the cracks. With so much that’s out of your control in the realm of IT security, this is one thing you can take into your own hands and ensure works to your advantage.

To learn more about the most effective ways to protect your business against emerging threats, including cloud-based credential management from PC Help Services, reach out to our team of technology experts. Contact us at info@pchservices.com or (317) 585-0500.

Alexssa

My wife called around and the first company to actually answer the phone was PC Help Services, Inc. She scheduled a time for the owner, Jason, to come out to our house; he came out within 48 hours. (In the past, we had taken our computer to a place like Best Buy to get it repaired, but we really don’t like doing that anymore. Even though it costs more for a repairman to come to one’s home, it is worth it for convenience and security.) Jason showed up on time and was very professional. At the advice of the person who scheduled the appt. over the phone, we purchased a new DVD burner from Fry’s ahead of time to save money. When Jason determined that the DVD burner / drive in our computer was indeed inoperable, he began to replace it with the one we had purchased. There was a problem between the computer and the connectors for the new DVD drive. Jason knew of a store from which he could buy a new connector. Within 10 minutes he was back and had spent $5.00 for the connector. He quickly installed the new DVD drive and concluded within 45 minutes, start to finish. Hire PC Help Services, Inc., by all means!”

Philip Kern / April 2009

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