Cyber Attacks Are on the Rise – Strong Passwords are the Best Protection

Cyber attacks are on the rise and according to an article posted on manufacturing is the hardest hit sector with 156% increase in the first quarter of 2020. The devastation of a cyber attack is widespread and affects not only the targeted company but also their clients suppliers and support organizations.

So what can you do to protect your business?  Strong passwords are the #1 best protection against cyber attack.  Weak passwords account for 81% of cyber attacks according to the Verizon Cybersercurity Division 2018 report. Here is our advice for good password management.

  1. Use a password manager! We all have too many passwords to remember.  Many of us use repeat and simple passwords which put us at risk. Password managers can help. (eg. 1Password, LastPass, Password Safe)-Do a Google search for free, open source, or paid software.
  2. Do not use the same password for multiple sites. We know, we know, it’s not easy.  Use a password manager and you’ll only ever have to remember one password.
  3. Implement 2 factor authentication.  If you have the option for 2 factor authentication (like getting a code texted to your phone that must be entered to get into online banking) then do it!
  4. Make sure your passwords are sufficiently complex.  The Department of Defense recommends the following for Password complexity:
    • Must be at least 14 characters in length.
    • Must contain at least:
    • Two uppercase letters [A-Z]
    • Two lowercase letters [a-z]
    • Two digits [0-9]
    • Two special characters [e.g.: !@#$&*]
    • A new password should differ from the changed password by at least 4 characters.
    • A password cannot contain your network account name or username.
  5. Implement a password policy.  Ensure that all of your employees are following these rules to protect your business.

Not convinced yet?  Check out this chart which demonstrates how quickly passwords can be compromised based on complexity.  This chart was created circa 2012 and though processing speeds have increased significantly since many passwords used today are weak even by these standards!

How Secure is Your Password?   by Mike Halsey MVP on April 07, 2012 in Security  Mike Halsey is a Microsoft MVP (Windows Expert). He is a recognized Windows expert having been awarded a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) certification in 2011

Creating a strong password policy is crucial to protecting your business and it the start to any cybersecurity plan. Cybersecurity plans will look different depending on your business. Let us help you develop a plan that is appropriate for you. Contact us.