Passwords: boring but they matter

Passwords: boring but they matter

Passwords are something that you and every employee can use to protect your data and maintaining this important protective wall against criminals is relatively easy. Take the time to follow basic good practices, most of which are relatively easy to do. Here are four easy best practices for good password hygiene which don’t require hand sanitizer or staying six feet apart.

Watch out for re-use and multiple use.

Rotating passwords isn’t a good idea. You may notice some sites that you use may not even permit you to use the passwords you have used previously. On a similar note, avoid using the same password across multiple sites. If one site is hacked, the password from that site can be used across all of your other secure sites.

Avoid writing down passwords

This one can be a little outdated. It belies common sense that a burglar will break into your home to steal your written password collection. That said, leaving a list of passwords sitting around in your office, wallet or handbag isn’t an especially good idea.

Don’t share password

One of the biggest temptations for password sharing may be in a work setting for the sake of speed and convenience – you may allow a co-worker who needs quick access to use your password. Don’t. Even if your co-worker has approved access, ask them to use their own credentials to login. Also, password sharing is likely a work rule violation in your organization. If discovered, it could be grounds for disciplinary action.

Phishing tricks

Last but absolutely not least, be aware of scams to get your password by convincing you to hand it over. We’ve mentioned this is other e-guides but it bears repeating because it seems to work against even the most savvy digital users.

Phishing scams involve sending an email or text message that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or social media site. The message typically asks you to click on a link and enter your password, giving the hacker access to your account. Before you click on any link, it is essential to verify if the links are genuine. Here are a few things to look for when doing that:

  • Spelling – Check for the misspellings in the URL. For example, if your bank’s web address is, a phishing link could misspell it as or
  • Disguised URLs – Sometimes, URLs can be disguised–meaning, while they look genuine, they ultimately redirect you to some fraudulent site. You can recognize the actual URL by using a mouseover, or by right clicking on the URL, and selecting the ‘copy hyperlink’ option and pasting the hyperlink on a notepad file. But, NEVER ever, paste the hyperlink directly into your web browser.
  • URLs with ‘@’ signs – If you find a URL that has an ‘@’ sign, steer clear of it even if it seems genuine. Browsers ignore URL information that precedes @ sign. That means, the URL will take you to and not to the actual Bank of America website.

In the end, the humble password is an excellent first line of defense against hackers and thieves. All it takes to keep this barrier strong is staying vigilant about password best practices. While it does take ongoing training on the part of management to ensure vigilance is maintained for the long haul, these best practices are simple to observe and take little time

Four easy ways to thwart cyber criminals

Four easy ways to thwart cyber criminals

With all the talk about cybercrime and the recent spate of headlines about ransomware, concerns for your data security and the safety of your business keep growing. Avoiding a data breach is critical to your business, so it is vital that you focus resources and time on cybersecurity. Your MSP can be your best support for handling the variety of solutions to the problem of cybercrime. However, don’t forget what you can do on your own. Amidst all the sophisticated tools to protect your data, don’t forget the role of the lowly password. Passwords are there all the time, so we tend to take them for granted.

Here are four easy best practices for good password hygiene which don’t require hand sanitizer or staying six feet apart.

Strong Passwords

Many advisors suggest that a strong password includes letters, numbers and symbols. Basic vocabulary words, from any language, can often be hacked through brute force–just bombarding with a stream of words until you hit the correct one. Numbers and symbols can make that less successful.

Update Passwords

The longer a password is hanging around, the more likely it may be compromised. Frequently changing passwords, just like changing the batteries in your smoke detector, should be done on a regular basis. Try the first day of every third month.

Cancel Passwords when access is no longer needed

In a workplace setting, access should be eliminated immediately upon the termination or transfer of an employee. Not tomorrow, not later today–Immediately. This is particularly true in the case of an involuntary termination, when a now former employee may have a motivation to act nefariously. Also, when an employee’s job duties change, some access from their previous position may not be relevant with their new role.

Multi-factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the access process that requires a second step to access data. You probably come across it frequently. Many retail sites now use MFA for returning customers who want access to their account or order history. MFA asks for your password and then authenticates you by sending a one-time code to another platform. Most frequently, this means sending you a text. The intent is to diminish the possibility that the password is being used by someone not authorized to have it. Anytime you use an ATM machine, you are using a version of MFA (The debit card is step one, the PIN is step two)

Password Hygiene Best Practices

Password Hygiene Best Practices

According to a report by Verizon, 80% of data breaches are caused by weak or stolen passwords. In addition, the report found that 60% of users reuse the same password across multiple accounts, making it easier for hackers to access multiple accounts with a single stolen password.

Maintaining good password hygiene is essential to protect against these threats and keep your accounts secure.

Weak or compromised passwords can be easily cracked, allowing cybercriminals to gain access to our data and steal our information. Here are a few password hygiene best practices to consider,

Use Strong Passwords

Using strong passwords is one of the most crucial steps in maintaining good password hygiene. A strong password is one that is long and complex, using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessable passwords, such as “password” or “123456,” and avoid using personal information, such as birth dates or names.

Update passwords or revoke access when employees leave the organization

Changing passwords regularly is another essential step in maintaining good password hygiene. It is recommended to change passwords every 90 days or sooner, depending on the level of security required. Passwords need to be updated regularly and access to data has to be revoked when employees are no longer authorized to access it. However, this important step is often overlooked. This is especially an issue in SMBs where the staff is pretty busy and turnover is high. They are too busy to remember to change the passwords once a staff member quits, leaving their data vulnerable. So, next time the new intern finishes their stint with you, make sure you change the password and revoke their access.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts. It requires you to provide a second form of identification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password. Two-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to gain access to your accounts, even if they have your password.

Don’t Reuse Passwords

Sometimes people find it difficult to remember multiple passwords for various files and applications, so they use a single good, strong password everywhere. Using the same password for multiple accounts is a common mistake that can compromise the security of all your accounts. If one account is compromised, all accounts using the same password are also at risk. Using a unique password for each account decreases the amount of damage that can be inflicted in the event that one password is compromised.

Avoid Writing Down Passwords

Writing down passwords is a risky practice. It is easy to misplace or lose the paper where you wrote down your passwords. Avoid writing down passwords, and if you must write them down, keep them in a secure place, such as a locked cabinet. This applies primarily to an office environment, where desks, files and notepads are in open view and available to all.

Don’t share your passwords

Never share your password. If you need to give data access to multiple people, make sure each one of them has their own access credentials. This creates an audit trail and helps trace the data breach back to its origin if it occurs.

Be Wary of Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are a common way for hackers to gain access to passwords. Phishing scams involve sending an email or text message that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or social media site. The message typically asks you to click on a link and enter your password, giving the hacker access to your account. Before you click on any link, it is essential to verify if the links are genuine

Password Management Tools: An overview

Password Management Tools: An overview

Effective password management is an essential aspect of cybersecurity. With the increasing number of online accounts and services, remembering all those passwords can be a daunting task. Password management tools provide an effective solution to this problem. This blog discusses the benefits of using password management tools and some password management best practices to be followed.

Some of the key benefits of deploying password management tools are:

Enhanced Security

The primary benefit of password management tools is enhanced security. Password managers store passwords in an encrypted format, making them less susceptible to hacking and phishing attacks. These tools also allow businesses to generate and store complex passwords for their employees. As a result, businesses can ensure that their employees use strong and unique passwords for every account, reducing the risk of a breach.

Easy Password Access and Management

Password management tools offer an easy way to access and manage passwords. Rather than manually entering passwords every time an employee logs into an account, password managers automatically fill in the necessary information. This feature not only saves time but also eliminates the risk of human error.

However, there are a few things to consider before you invest in a password management tool.

One of the things to consider is a security breach. Password managers are third party platforms. If your password management experiences a security breach, it can put all of the stored passwords at risk. Additionally, if the tool goes down, you may not be able to access your accounts.

Secondly, while password management tools reduce the risk of human error, they are not foolproof. Employees may still make mistakes, such as sharing their passwords or writing them down, which can compromise security. Additionally, if an employee forgets the password to their password manager account, it can cause problems. Hence it is important to ensure that you have good password hygiene in place.

Password hygiene refers to the practice of creating and maintaining strong passwords and protecting them from being compromised. It involves using unique and complex passwords for each account, changing passwords regularly, and storing the passwords securely so it isn’t accessible to unauthorized entities.