Password123: Is This Your Password?

Do not just depend on a password to keep you safe. Adopt a series of behaviors. (Image: via  pixabay  /  CC0 1.0)
Do not just depend on a password to keep you safe. Adopt a series of behaviors. (Image: via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Setting all passwords to password123 or any of its variations is just not enough. Why? Because everyone’s doing it, and the hackers know too well. According to a report by Securelink, 80 percent of all hacking is related to weak or stolen passwords. This does not just apply to personal computers, but to company networks as well.

Increasing security isn’t simply a matter of changing passwords. It’s about changing your security behavior. You need to study and understand the consequence of having a breach of security. How much that could affect your life, work, and those around you. People with malicious intent can hold you up for ransom or outright sell your confidential details to someone who intends to do more damage.

Entire businesses have shut down, people have lost their careers and life savings; there’s so much a lapse in security can do to you. If you think you can take it, venture down a bit into the abyss of the Internet — the deep web. Over there, you can find vendors selling credit card information and passwords like an everyday item on Amazon. These are access details of people who were too lazy to work out a strong password. Just imagine the damage hackers can cause if they break into your system, impersonate you, and engage in unlawful activities. You can end up in prison. The higher authority you have, the bigger will be the fall.

Password behavior

  1. Ensure a strong password with (capital and small) alphanumeric characters and symbols.
  2. No sharing of passwords.
  3. Implement 2-factor or multi-factor authentication.
  4. No storing of passwords on sticky notes — keep them safe and secure inside a diary.
  5. Never use the same password twice.
  6. In cases of a breach, change the password immediately — make it stronger (i.e., more complicated).
  7. If employees leave the company, make sure the passwords are changed.
  8. Ensure vendors have different access passwords, and when you change vendors, change passwords at that time.
  9. Have a different password for each platform.
  10. Change passwords regularly.
  11. Download from certified sources.
  12. Use 2-step verification when it’s available.
Hackers are employing more complex forms of deception. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Hackers are employing more complex forms of deception. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

General security protocols

For preventing an attack, you can do several things, like installing a decent antivirus and firewall. You can use a VPN or the Tor Browser to access the Internet.

  • Use backup; offline through external hard disks and online through secure services like Carbonite and Crashplan.
  • Install a password generator if you have difficulties remembering or creating passwords; for example, make use of services like LastPass or DashLane.
  • Phishing is the most common method of hacking. The hackers’ design sites impersonating legitimate platforms and ask you to input passwords. Simple, but very effective. Naive users think someone from their bank or a social media platform they’re part of is requesting the information and, without thinking twice, hand over password and login details.
  • Purchase online using prepaid cards. This way, even if you get hacked, they only have access to your prepaid balance and not your bank account.
  • Use alias emails (not main or personal emails) when accessing networks. In this case, hackers can only get so much access to your private life. Use temporary emails for one-time access to information through services like guerrillamail.com or maildu.de
  • Every time you log in, check the last logged in detail. In case of discrepancies, change the password immediately.
  • Use encryption to scramble the messages you send across networks. This helps because the hacker won’t be able to decode the messages even if they get their hands on them.
  • Turn off your computer when you’re done with it, especially in places where others can easily access it.
  • Disconnect the camera when not in use.
Your security is your responsibility. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Your security is your responsibility. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Social media

  • Do not accept friend requests of people you do not know.
  • Don’t post everything happening in your life online. For one thing, people aren’t interested, and those who are might be for the wrong reasons.

What to do when you get hacked

  • Inform your bank, police, contacts on the computer, and the website administrators.
  • Change passwords.
  • Remove personal information like bank details, birth date, and other files that are personal to you.

Be wary of companies with servers in China. They’re inherently unsafe because the Chinese government can access the files, and you can do absolutely nothing about it.

Insurance companies will only cover accidents if you have proper security in the first place. Otherwise, your claim will be rejected. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. So plan ahead and take the necessary precautionary steps to ensure you and your company are safety.

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