Passwords Can Be Your Best Defense

Did you know that 63 percent of data breaches are a result of weak or stolen passwords? When a hacker steals an employee’s work password, the thief is looking to gain access to the main corporate system. This takeover can result in not only an internal data breach, but also a breach that exposes customers’ information.

We can learn a lot from Dropbox’s recent data breach that affected 70 million of its users. As an online cloud service that houses documents for customers, it is a target for sensitive information. When an employee unintentionally reused a work password on another website that was hacked, that person opened up a can of worms.

A sophisticated hacker was able to connect the dots about the employee’s password and accessed his or her work account. The result was a leak that not only put the company at risk, but also exposed the confidential files of millions of their users.

What’s the takeaway? Yes, don’t use the same password on multiple sites, but also recognize the inside channels hackers will try to undermine in order to succeed. A small crack in the system can cause a ripple effect, and the more information hackers gain, the more likely they are to return. We can’t control everything on the Internet, but we can pick our password.

Everyone uses passwords at work and in their daily lives, but not all passwords are strong enough to stand up to hackers. Do you know what can happen if your password is weak? We’ll break it down for you and help you rebuild a tougher online presence to defend against identity theft.

Consequences of a weak password.
Hackers are able to crack the code and access your personal emails, credit card information, bank accounts and more. Then they can impersonate you to manipulate your contacts, withdraw money from your accounts or make fraudulent purchases.

This breach then makes your computer susceptible to viruses and hackers can install malware to further track your passwords online.

Once scammers have your passwords and personal information, they can sell these credentials to other professional hackers on the “dark web.” Once your information is leaked to the hacking community, it’s difficult to estimate the impact of the theft.

Strategies to avoid hackers.
Remember, your PIN number is a password, too. Keep this in mind when you’re creating a two-step verification.

Also, always download the newest and safest software and malware detection to prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer.

Finally, utilize a passphrase, or complete sentence rolled into a password format. This can not only help you remember your login information, but it will also be hard to crack. You can take a sentence and make the first letter of every word your code. That way, only you know what it means. For example, “The first house I ever lived in was 613 Fake Street” would be Tfh!eliw613FS. This example also uses numbers and characters for added complexity and protection.

Having a unique password is critical to keeping you and your information safe. Here are a few more dos and don’ts that may come in handy so you don’t fall victim to theft:

Latest and greatest.
This is the only time that recycling is bad. To protect your sensitive information, update your passwords regularly and don’t reuse them across accounts.

Instead of writing your password down, try memorizing it. This way, there’s less chance of account hacking.

Bad combo.
Whatever you do, refrain from saving your username and password combinations together.

Get a clue.
Everyone likes a good mystery. Create passwords that aren’t easy to guess. Avoid using your usernames, first and last name, or any other obvious choices like a birthday.

Take a hint.
In case you forget your password, set up personal questions that no one else can answer or create two-step authentication. You don’t want anyone to crack the code.

Happiness is never having your information hacked. Your strongest password will always be hard for someone to guess, but simple for you to remember.

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