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And the Password Is …

hacking

Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

Burger King. Jeep. Microsoft. Google. What do these companies have in common? They’ve all been hacked. Their networks have been breached and information stolen from their systems.

 

It might be shocking to think companies of this stature have been under cyber-attack. According to an article by Nicole Perlroth, “security experts like to say that there are now only two types of companies left in the United States: those that have been hacked and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked.” An annual Verizon report counted 621 confirmed data breaches last year and more than 47,000 reported “security incidents.”

 

One article from GlobalPost says these cyber-attacks are “a new breed of warfare” that can threaten a nation’s core security and weaken the economy. But for your company’s website and social media platforms, what can you do to up the security efforts? Start with the password.

 

Review these password protection pointers from Quinton O’Reilly of Simply Zesty:

 

1. Avoid brevity. Most sites require passwords to be six characters or more before they’re accepted. It’s recommended your password be more than 12 characters to lessen the chances of someone hacking it.

2. Vary the characters. Don’t settle on letters alone. Use capitals, numbers, punctuation and symbols to strengthen it.

3. Add complex passwords to smartphones. A survey by McAfee found more than three out of every 10 smartphone owners don’t have a password on their devices, according to an article from CNN. And those that do usually punch in a four-digit PIN to unlock their phones.

However, there are better ways to keep your smartphone safe. For iPhone users, create a more complex password by going into your phone’s “settings,” and then into “general,” where you will see “password lock.” Turn off “simple passcode” — this allows you to enter a more complex password.

4. Check your password’s strength. Test your password’s strength on HowSecureIsMyPassword.net. The site will tell you how long it will take for a desktop PC to crack your password.

5. Use your phone or tablet as storage for your passwords. You know that note taker on your phone? It’s also a handy way of storing those hard-to-remember passwords. Keep your phone locked with a strong PIN, and bury those passwords deep in your phone’s memory.

6. Log out. It doesn’t hurt to log out of a site when you’re finished. The worst thing you’ll have to endure is a few extra seconds typing in your password.

 

And if you’re having difficulty regaining access to a company social media account that was compromised or hacked, try the following:

 

  • Facebook: Go to Facebook’s hacked section. If you’re signed in, just follow the instructions to secure your account. If you’re not signed in, or you can’t sign in, send a report through this page saying your account has been hacked.

 

  • Twitter: Twitter doesn’t have the same security features as Facebook, so the only thing you can do is change your password. If you can log into your account, go into “account settings” and access the “passwords” tab to change it. If you’re unable to log in to your account, you will need to request Twitter change your password through the home page.

 

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn enables you to change your password by requesting it through this link. Much like Twitter, a link to help change your account password will be emailed to you.

 

  • Google and YouTube: If you’re having problems signing in, go to the sign-in page and click on “Can’t access your account?” where you can get either your username or your password. If your account’s been compromised, you will need to click on “help” at the bottom of the page and report the problem. A good idea would be to sign up for Google’s two-step verification process. This uses both your password and your phone to keep your account safe.

 

In 76 percent of data breaches, weak or stolen user names and passwords were a cause, according to the Verizon report. Better to be safer with password protection today — than sorry with a cyber-attack tomorrow.

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Categories: 2013 June Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: , , , , , , , , ,