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Cyber Attacks: Are You At Risk? Part One

Cyber Security Part 1

The short answer is YES. No one is immune to cyber attacks. If you’ve been anywhere near a news outlet in the last few years, you know that cyber crime is on the rise. Unfortunately, there are no ‘cyber police’ to come to the rescue. In fact, there is a popular virus named the ‘Cyber Police Virus’ because the extortionists behind the virus claim they are the Cyber Police or some form of government.

Companies and internet users alike have come together to spread awareness and to fight back against this growing problem. However, cyber criminals pop up faster than we can perceive new threats. Because of this, it is absolutely imperative that you are being proactive about your cyber security. You can’t wait until there is a problem. By that time, a cyber criminal could bring your business or personal online world to a screeching halt and it could take you a very long time (and sometimes lots of money) to recover.

How then can we be proactive about our cyber security? Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be releasing tips that should be a normal part of your cyber defense. Let’s start off with the way you access your online information. If your passwords aren’t secure, no security measure you’ve placed further down the line will be helpful.

Passwords

I know, I know! Everyone hates to remember a million complicated passwords. However, it really is a necessary step. The good news is that you can make secure passwords without a bunch of random numbers, symbols, and capital letters. As it turns out, the longer the password, the harder it is to crack.

Cyber Security Comic

Source
So, now you know how to make hard passwords. Did you see that I said passwords – not password. You shouldn’t be using the same password for all of your accounts. Do you have a single key that opens your front door, starts your car, gets into your gym locker, and unlocks grandma’s shed? Of course not! But how will we remember all these passwords!?! I know…we will write them on sticky notes and keep them in easy accessible places! WRONG. Never write down your passwords on paper. Here are two ways you can learn to keep track of all of those passwords safely.

Password Standard Naming Convention

You can use a similar password for your accounts, but add a unique identifier that is specific to the service you are using. By using the same naming convention, you’ll be able to remember or recreate your password easily. Let’s say the root of my password is going to be ‘snowwhite&the7dwarfs’. I would then choose a way to uniquely identify each service and incorporate that into my password.

For example, I could choose to take the first and last letter of the company and add it to the end of my password. Here is what that would look like:

Google – ‘snowwhite&the7dwarfsge’
Good Reads – ‘snowwhite&the7dwarfsgr’

Another method would be to just insert the name of the service into my password. Let’s say we do this after the 7. We would get:

Amazon – ‘snowwhite&the7amazondwarfs’
Yahoo – ‘snowwhite&the7yahoodwarfs’

Password Vaults

If this method seems too cumbersome for you, there is another route you can take. There are many services out there that offer to store all of your passwords, which would mean you only have to remember your master password. As most of you know, you can have your browser save your passwords. This is very convenient, but not very secure. Keep in mind that anyone that uses your device can access those passwords. Not only can they use the stored passwords to log into your accounts, there is also usually a way to visually view those passwords. Make sure you require a password to log onto your device.

Other free solutions include software you can download, such as KeePass. These are great for storing all your passwords on your system, not just your browser. However, it’s only stored on the device you have it installed on. If you’re looking for something more versatile, you can get great password management solutions for pretty low prices. I would highly recommend checking out LastPass.

LastPass Logo

Stay tuned next week for more cyber defense tips!

Stephanie Rawson

Stephanie has 15 years of self-taught HTML and web design experience along with an associates degree in Information Technology from Colorado Tech. Her previous experience in eCommerce and customer service gives her a unique insight into what clients and their customers are looking for. Outside of work, Stephanie is active in Christian ministry and loves geeky hobbies.

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