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The importance of strong password security Do you ever use the same password for multiple accounts? Or use a range of easy to remember combinations? If so, you and your business could be at risk of getting hacked. Ask yourself, how secure are my passwords? And how easily could a stranger crack it? The reality is, if you are using weak passwords, rotating easy to remember words or using the same password for multiple accounts, a hacker could easily come along and steal vital data, emails, money, images; basically anything of any value. If you want your business’ accounts to remain safe and secure, it’s vital to learn about the importance of good password security, what a strong password is and what to avoid when creating new accounts. Why is good password security vital? As more businesses move online, cyber-security has never been more important. Hackers know that there is more data online than ever before, making good password security vital to ensure your business stays safe. One of the most common ways a hacker will infiltrate your system is by guessing a weak password, and if you use this password for multiple accounts, the results could be extremely damaging. There are a few main ways that hackers will attempt to guess or find out your password: A Hacker Dictionary A hacker dictionary is a resource that hackers use which lists some of the most common password combinations that people use. They will then ‘run’ this against your accounts to try and break in and steal your information. If your passwords are weak and used across multiple accounts, you may at risk. By Force To break in to accounts, hackers use an automated software that is based on a cycle of guess work, pairing random combinations of passwords and usernames together until it find a match. If your password is easy to guess, the software will have a much greater chance of being successful. Phishing Phishing isn’t strictly a type of hack; however, it is still a process that hackers use to attempt to steal password and account details. Hackers will send an email to potential victims that appears to be from a legitimate source asking them to either click malicious links or input their login details to a spoof website. The hackers can then either infect the user’s computer with malware or steal sensitive information. Tips on ensuring your password is secure. If you believe your passwords may be at risk from hackers, we’ve put together a few helpful tips that can help you keep your data safe. Always: Use different passwords for different accounts. This gives you piece of mind that if a hacker manages to crack one of your passwords, only one account will be compromised. Consider password analysers that are present on websites. If it says your password is weak, try and make changes to strengthen it. Ensure your passwords are complex and made up of more than 12 characters and numbers. The most common passwords that are hacked are unsurprisingly ‘123456’, ‘111111’ and ‘qwerty’. Make sure you change your password from any that have been automatically generated by a website. Use a string of words, like a sentence, that help you to remember complex passwords. For example, ‘gardenpotatomaneats’. This is much harder for hackers to guess, but easier for you to remember. Never When creating passwords, you should never use your name, a family members name, birthdays, important dates, the football team you support, your favourite band or the word ‘password’. You should also avoid using sequential lists of numbers or letters. The more obscure your password, the better. Write down your passwords. Use the exact same password for multiple accounts or devices. Use a single word from the dictionary, even if you have substituted a couple of letters for symbols. Hackers can run software against dictionary words and can scan for common substitutions like ‘!’ for ‘I’ and ‘@’ for ‘a’. Input your password or account details when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily intercept your information as the Wi-Fi connection is not secure. Hopefully this guide will help you to keep your personal information safe online. If you need more help, contact IT support.