At a time of year when we would all like to be thinking of autumn and all the abundance that this season brings, we need to be concerned with the profusion of breaches we have seen this year. Data security breaches are happening all the time, but 2017 has already become a noteworthy year for security breaches. Looking forward, there is every reason to believe these breaches will continue to increase. With October designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s a good time to take personal action.
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to faithfully change your password(s). Commit to making October your month to always change your password. It’s better to change your password more often, but at least do it during National Cyber Security Month. Here are some steps to take to consider:
Personal Action -- Password Security
Are you still using a simple password for your online banking or email account? Or, are you using 12345 or password1? If so, you need to change it right away to protect your own, your families’, your employees’, and your customers’ confidential data. Passwords are an easy way for criminals to sneak in and access information if not updated from the default or, if passwords are too simple, it can also make it easy for data thieves to break in.
Simple password checklist
Use the following checklist to find out if you are using a simple password.
- Is the password used on any other systems or websites? e. email and online banking
- Is the password less than 16 characters?
- Is the password only letters?
- Is the password a dictionary word or a variation of it? e. monk3y, w@lrus, p1neapp7e
- Does the password contain personal information? e. Mother’s maiden name, phone number
If you checked any of the boxes above, you are using too simple of a password. You need to change it immediately. You want to use a secure password that is unique for all systems you use. Do not reuse passwords!
Creating Secure Passwords
The idea of changing your passwords is always overwhelming. You want it to be something easy for you and for anyone that needs to remember it, while also keeping unwanted predators out. Complex passwords don’t have to be complicated. Use the tool below to generate a secure password:
- Think of four words: _________________________________________________
- Place a space or symbol between each word: _____________________________
- Capitalize and/or swap with a symbol the middle letter of each of the word: __________________________________________________________________
- This is now your new and secure password.
The Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily life, whether we realize it or not. National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is designed to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. Stay safe online, and increase your resiliency in the event of a personal cyber incident. Next time you start thinking of apples and pumpkins this fall, make sure to think about your passwords – Change them.