Corporate hacks seem almost commonplace these days. But while our sensitivity to such events may have subsided with time, they can still do real damage to companies hit by the attack. Password compromise, in particular, can have a widespread and far-reaching impact. Just look at the major Dropbox hack from a few years prior which was a direct result of a LinkedIn hack a year previously. The main point is that if a site you use has been compromised, you have been compromised. Here are several actions you should take the minute you hear your password may be among the casualties of a site hack.
Change Your Passwords
If you suspect your account has been hacked, or even if you’ve heard that a site you frequent has had passwords compromised, you need to change your password on that particular site, and all other sites you use that same password. You can check whether your password has been compromised for a variety of websites you use to see if it’s a link in a long chain of hacks or just a one-off password compromise.
Pick a Strong Password
Amazingly, people still get caught using terrible passwords on their online accounts. This might seem like a small risk to take, but hackers are getting smarter about guessing user’s credentials. Passwords like “PASSWORD” “123456” and others are commonly used but easily guessed even by amateur cybercriminals. It’s important to use high-quality passwords that don’t put you or your company at risk of cyber-crime. The keys to picking a strong password are simple. Avoid simple passwords. Make it easy to remember but hard to guess. Consider using a password manager for easy management of complex passwords.
Avoid Simple Passwords
Although the requirements for most accounts are rarely more than 6 characters, the longer your password is the more difficult it is to compromise. Security experts at McAfee say to avoid using personal information including your name, age, birthdate, children’s names, pet’s names, even favorite color or song. Any password that makes sense can be guessed by a savvy hacker with a little insider information (such as what is often readily available on social media).
Easy to Remember but Hard to Guess
The best passwords are easy to remember but hard to guess. Use a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols to create a meaningful password like “Iam:)2day!”. It has 10 characters and says “I am happy today!” Another option is to create shapes on the keyboard to make a new password. For example, the password “5tgbHU*” follows a V pattern on the keyboard. Again, it is an easily remembered option that hackers will have difficulty guessing.
Use a Password Manager for Stronger Passwords
There are many ways you can check the strength of your password to see how it stacks up comparatively. Many security programs and websites offer a password strength analyzer in the sign-up section. Pay attention to the advice of the program and you will be helping to make your password choice stronger and your information more secure. Sometimes an external perspective helps identify vulnerabilities that we may otherwise be blind to. A quick review can do a lot of good. But a Password Manager will suggest and remember one that is completely random and therefore much stronger than anyone you could think up.
For more expert advice on making your information more digitally secure, call to speak with a records management specialist today. The team at Happy Faces Records Management offers the latest options for digital file security and hard copy records management.