The world is filled with hackers working around the clock to steal your private information. They employ highly sophisticated tools to crack your security firewalls, and for many of them, figuring out your password is faster and easier than you think.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) January 31, 2013
The Next Web recently reported that Google will soon allow Android users to sync their passwords between the Chrome web browser on their phones and the one on their computers. This upcoming feature gives one less excuse for business owners who use simplistic passwords for their sensitive online accounts.
“Imagine the horror of visiting your company website and discovering that a hacker has defaced it,” says Jeremy Durant, Business Principle for Bop Design, a San Diego website design agency. “Or worse, finding they’ve stolen sensitive customer data or cleaned out your online banking account. You may think this only happens to other companies. But get lazy or careless when creating online passwords, and it could easily happen to you.
“The world is filled with hackers working around the clock to steal your private information. They employ highly sophisticated tools to crack your security firewalls, and for many of them, figuring out your password is faster and easier than you think.”
What To Do
A common tool of hackers is dictionary data attacks – automated programs that use lengthy lists of common words to identify passwords ¬and break through a company’s defenses in a matter of minutes. A YouTube search on “dictionary hacker attack” brings up numerous videos showing how easily it can be done. That’s why choosing a secure password is essential for the safety of all online accounts.
To set up a safe and secure password, keep the following in mind:
- Passwords should have a minimum of eight characters, and should always contain both letters and numbers. Using symbols (when allowed) and mixing upper and lower case letters adds to the strength of a password.
- Businesses should use a different password for each account, and change their passwords frequently. Some experts recommend changing them as often as every three months.
- Randomized passwords are the most secure. Random password generators are available as software programs and through websites. However, many experts recommend against using online password generators for highly sensitive accounts that contain customer, banking and other financial data.
To create long, complex passwords, the Microsoft Security Centers offers a simple strategy:
- Start with a short sentence: Complex passwords are safer.
- Remove the spaces between the words: Complexpasswordsaresafer.
- Turn the words into shorthand or intentionally misspell one of them: ComplekspasswordsRsafer.
- Add numbers at the end of the sentence: ComplekswordsRsafer2011.
Free online password strength checkers are also available. Make sure the site is secure before using it.
What Not To Do
To thwart sophisticated cyber crooks, avoid using these common password mistakes:
- Normal, everyday words found in the dictionary
- Words spelled backwards, common misspellings, or abbreviations
- Sequences or repeated characters, such as12345678 or abcdefg
- Adjacent letters on the keyboard, such as qwerty
Never use real names, birthdays, driver's license numbers, passport numbers, login names, or any other type of personal information. Also, don’t use spouses, friends, pet names or any other information that someone might know or could easily obtain.
Companies with a lot of accounts and many different passwords should consider using a password manager or repository. A password manager is a software that uses encrypted data to safely organize and store passwords. Companies can purchase their own software or use an online password manager service. Bop Design uses Passpack, a free online password manager that allows storage of the passwords to all their accounts.
“It only takes a few minutes to set up safe, secure online passwords,” says Durant. “This small investment of time can keep hackers from defacing your website, damaging your brand, stealing your money, destroying your credit, and ruining your life.”
About Bop Design
Bop Design is a San Diego website design agency with offices also in the New York metro area. We express your business' values through branding, advertising, design and web design. We also help attract your ideal customer through search engine optimization and search engine marketing. Our focus is on small businesses that want an external team of marketing specialists to help give their brand an edge in the marketplace. To learn about Bop Design's services, philosophy, clients and portfolio, visit http://www.bopdesign.com.