Are you a candidate for hacking?

key in jigsawAt this time of year, scams, fake anti virus and the like are on the increase. But many people still do the online equivalent of leaving their front door on the latch and going off to work, then wonder when they get back why they have been burgled! They wonder why they get no sympathy and no insurance cover.

You could be doing the same with your business. We are dependent on passwords for much of our life, shopping online, banking, email, or just getting into Windows! Please check your passwords, if they match any of the top 20 listed below, CHANGE IT NOW! Before you get hacked.

With passwords like the ones below it will only take a hacker moments to steal your customer list, your bank account or even your identityNot only will you lose data, but when your customers find out, you will lose them as well. When the ICO find out, you may be fined up to £500,000! Good practice on how to create passwords is shown below.  Also below the list are ways to change the more common passwords, but feel free to comment and add more ideas yourself.

In 2010, Imperva released a list of top 20 (useless) passwords and I have repeated the list below:-

  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. Password
  5. iloveyou
  6. princess
  7. rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123
  11. Nicole
  12. Daniel
  13. babygirl
  14. monkey
  15. Jessica
  16. Lovely
  17. michael
  18. Ashley
  19. 654321
  20. Qwerty

Good practices:-

Don’t use same password for all your accounts, if one got hacked, hacker can gain entry to your whole online life and take your identity. Use different passwords, and yes do write them down! However, keep the document away from the computer, preferably in a safe place (talk to Neil at Safebox), and a copy elsewhere (what would you do if place caught fire)?

House in chains and padlockUse strong passwords, this means keep them at least 8 characters long (preferably more), a mixture of upper and lower case, include numbers and non alphanumeric numbers such as ‘£’, ‘&’ etc. (over 30% users have passwords of 6 characters or less, OUCH).

Change passwords regularly.

Make your password from a phrase, e.g. use first few letters (or if long phrase, first letter) from each word as per ‘KTS Is The Best Computer Company In St Ives’ means password would be KTSITBCCISI which is 11 characters. Now change some for upper / lower case and add a number and you are away with a memorable password.

To change in Windows, go to Control Panel, Users, and select user, then change password.

To change in Outlook (after connecting to web based system to alter password) just login and it will ask you for the new password. Tick the box that says remember.

Hotmail, BT, Gmail etc.. You’re not using these for your business are you? If you are you may want to re-think after reading how Google lost data in February this year. Look professional, use your own domain; that way you have control.

If you are worried about any aspect of your IT then just email it to us at – even if you’re not a customer. We’ll do our best to send you a response by email.

Stay safe and if in doubt – send me a question on Twitter    @Ask_Ken

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