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Are You an Easy Target? Secure Your Passwords.

Updated: May 4, 2018

If you run a small business, you may think that you are not susceptible to cyber-attacks, but that could not be further from the truth.

In fact, today, over half of all cyber-attacks target small businesses!

The first step in creating a strong shield is securing your passwords. Below are some basic password tips to take your security to the next level.

Make passwords long and varied

In order to create a strong password you need to use something that is hard for others to guess.

Incorporate the following:

· At least 10 characters long

· Symbols

· Upper and lowercase letters

· Numbers

An example of this would be “BigGreenBike01!”

To help you with remembering a password you can try to create a password phrase.

e.g.,: “DidTheBlueBikeBreak2YearsAgo?” or “D1dtheBlueB1keBre@k2Ye@rsAgo?”.

Avoid the following:

· Dictionary words (e.g., apple).

· Repeated character or a series of characters (e.g., 12345).

· Keyboard series of characters (e.g., qwerty).

· Personal information (e.g., birthdays, addresses).

Do not reuse passwords

Be sure to use significantly different passwords for each of your accounts. Using the same password for every account opens the floodgates to attackers once one password is cracked.

Additionally, when a hacker completes a large-scale hack with popular email servers, the lists of compromised email addresses and passwords may often be leaked online. If your account is compromised and you use this email address and password combination across multiple sites, your information can be easily used to get into any of your other accounts.

Change your passwords regularly

Changing passwords every three months is accepted as best practice. The more sensitive your information is, the more often you should change your password. Be sure to change your password significantly enough that they cannot be guessed by someone who knew the previous password.

Do not use browser-based password storage systems

Storing passwords online with your web browser can increase the chances of a breach whether it’s by a hacker accessing the passwords remotely or an insider logging on to your computer physically. This is because most web browser-based password managers store your password on your computer in an unencrypted form.

Use a dedicated password manager

In situations where you are required to use numerous different password, you may consider using a dedicated password management program. Unlike browser-based password managers, dedicated password management software can store your passwords in encrypted on your own computer. They can also help randomly generate passwords and ensure that passwords are changed periodically.

A few of the popular password management applications are Dashlane, LastPass and KeePass.

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