Some cyber criminals attempt to gain access to software and systems by using programs that guess your password. Such “brute force” attacks try millions of combinations of letters and numbers until they eventually find a password that works. They will begin by using common words so never use a dictionary word alone as your password. Every single additional character or number that you add to your password will exponentially improve its security. Breaches of security often happen simply because passwords are never changed from the default ones that come with a router or software program. You must always change the passwords on routers and other devices as soon as they are connected to your network.
Google Study on Account Hijacking
Google recently conducted a study to gain a better understanding of how criminals steal passwords. It analysed online black markets between March 2016 to March 2017 and found:
- 788,000 credentials were stolen by keyloggers,
- 12 million passwords stolen by phishing,
- 3 billion lost in third-party breaches
12 percent of the records it found used a Gmail address as their username, and they found that seven percent of those reused the same password as Gmail. This shows that third party breaches are by far the most common way passwords are stolen and so if you reuse passwords on multiple sites there is a much higher chance of becoming a victim of cyber theft.
Set a Strong Password
Following some general rules can help your password stay secure:
- The longer the better. The more characters in your password, the harder it is to crack. You don’t have to remember a string of unintelligible digits: even three dictionary words run into each other will be difficult to crack.
- Use different types of character such as numbers, symbols and punctuation marks.
- Avoid using dictionary words or names – especially single words on their own. Consider three random words such as “dogeggsandwich” or song lyrics such as “toseethestars”
- If you must use dictionary words, put several together into a phrase and replace letters with similar-looking symbols.: @ for a, ! for I, $ for s, and so on.
- Use a different password for every account. That way if one password is compromised the rest will still be safe – your most secure account is only as safe as the security on your weakest if you reuse passwords.
- Avoid using personal information such as childrens names, birthdays, sports teams or pet names. If people know or find out this information they can target an attack at you personally by trying these passwords first.
Digitalquill –Hull Business IT Support
We can advise you on IT security if you are a small business in Hull, East Yorkshire or Lincolnshire. Call Digitalquill on 01482 424402 or visit www.digitalquill.co.uk for more information.