Passwords: How hard are yours to guess?

It can be frustrating to continually set up strong passwords – at least 8 characters, made up of letters, numbers and special characters – creating and remembering them can be hard work.

However, given that the password ‘123456’ has been found 23 million times in global breaches, these strict requirements are in our best interests. Here, we look at some of the common mistakes that play into the hands of hackers and how to make sure your passwords are as secure as they can be.

Avoid predictability

Predictability is a password cracker’s best friend, so avoid using birthdays, family names, pets, interests, locations, sports teams or anything else someone could easily discover.

Combine techniques

Unfortunately, simply substituting special characters into words, such as Samuel becoming S4mu3L, can be easily deciphered by hackers. However, used in conjunction with longer passwords, such as three random words or a memorable phrase can create an effective password.

Reset, but don’t re-use

Change your passwords regularly – at least once a year – and close down any accounts or services you don’t use. Try to use a significantly different password - many of us have a favourite password we fall back on, but if one account is breached, other accounts using the same or similar accounts are immediately at risk too.

Beware of banking on your browser

Be wary of using the password manager built into web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari as security experts have shown these can be easily exposed. In contrast, a dedicated password manger app protects against this with high-level encryption.

Don’t be caught off-guard offline

Be vigilant and seek verification when someone calls and claims to be from your network provider or other organisation – known as social engineering, this type of cybercrime can use artificial intelligence and voice technology to trick you into transferring funds or handing over login details.

Lock down your location data

Be aware that apps with permission to access your location could leak more information than you realise, such as your home or work address. And if your photos are geotagged by default, then uploaded to social media, this information could be available to prying eyes.

Having a robust password policy as part of your cyber risk management plan is critical for a business if it is to reduce the threat of cyber attacks, which fundamentally could result in breaches of computer systems and losses of personal and confidential data.

Islands Insurance has partnered with Cyber Insurers who can offer an insurance solution for all companies and budgets. As part of the Cyber insurance, many of our Insurers provide access to complementary risk management tools and resources, which in conjunction with a robust password policy can reduce the risk of uninvited parties gaining access to your computer system and avoid the disruption, financial loss and reputational damage that a company may be faced with as a consequence.

If you require a cyber-crime quotation, require advice as to the types of cyber exposures your business many be exposed to or any further information in regards to the covers and risk management solutions available, please contact Mike Norbury at Mike.Norbury@islands.je

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