eBay Inc. recently recommended its users to change their passwords. Why? If you guessed there was a cyberattack on one of eBay’s databases, you are correct! Cyberattacks have been in the news almost daily, and unfortunately they seem to be increasing in number. While companies are busy trying to stave off any attacks, there are ways you can protect yourself.
Treat Passwords With Care
Like with other items, you should consider your passwords to be sensitive material. Treat them no differently than you treat your credit cards. Make sure your passwords are secure and change them regularly – as often as four times a year, or sooner if you believe it has been compromised.
A standard eight-character password with moderate security can be hacked within two to four hours. In comparison, passwords or passphrases of 12 characters with high complexity would take 17,000 years to breach.
8 Tips To Keep Your Passwords Strong and Safe
Here are eight tips and best practices you can implement to help keep your passwords strong and safe:
- Use passphrases instead of passwords or a string of characters and digits. Passphrases can be easier to remember. For example: “Myd0gisSamm@”
- Use upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters in passphrases.
- Never use complete words within a passphrase.
- Change passphrases routinely.
- Never share passphrases with others.
- Be cautious of shared computers that do not have current virus detection programs installed on them, such as hotel data centers, publicly used computer kiosks.
- Change passphrases after using a shared public access computer.
- Use two-step verifications when available.
Password and IT Audit Help
Need some additional advice on how to create strong passwords that will protect you and your business? Contact Rea & Associates. Our IT audit professionals can help you determine where you can strengthen your IT security.
Author: Joe Welker, CISA (New Philadelphia office)