Passwords – are you really secure?

The majority of people who use the Internet will use passwords. Whether it’s to access an email account, or doing online banking, passwords are the first line of defence. But, are your passwords secure?

High Profile security breaches

There have been a number of high profile examples in the news recently where personal details, including passwords have been stolen, highlighting the need be on top of your password procedure. On the 30th October Adobe released figures confirming that the personal credentials of approximately 38m active users were compromised.

The software firm who make Photoshop and the Flash plugin had encrypted users passwords, but not the usernames or password hints. This enabled cyber criminals to expose a significant proportion of users passwords and access personal information. One of the most common mistakes is to use the same password for multiple accounts, meaning that criminals could access those accounts.

As a result, Facebook took measures to protect and identify those users whose accounts were compromised by the Adobe breach in security. Those individuals identified had to answer additional security questions before being given access to their accounts.

Security researchers investigating the Adobe breach have found some common mistakes made by users when creating passwords.

“123456″ was the most popular password among the millions of Adobe users whose details were stolen during an attack on the company. (BBC News)

Protect yourself with create effective passwords?

  1. Update your passwords regularly.
  2. Use a different password for important accounts like banking and email.
  3. Keep a record of your passwords in a secret place that isn’t visible.
  4. Use a password that is a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.
  5. Try using a phrase that only you know & adapt it using numbers and symbols.
  6. Make sure your recovery email and phone number is up to date.

For more detailed password advice visit Google’s Secure Your Passwords page.

Website CMS security – usernames

If you use a CMS (Content Management System) to administer your website, ensure that you’re your user name is not admin. In this instance the same rules apply to usernames as to passwords, cyber criminals may try to access your CMS using the Admin username. If you use something different, then this is another layer of security, making you even less vulnerable to compromise.

Be secure – use your common sense when creating passwords

Don’t be lazy and use the same password for every important account and make sure your password is not obvious. By following these simple steps you will significantly increase your chances of remaining secure.

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