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Your password is too easy to hack… Here’s why

August 4, 2017

 

Attacking password protected systems is not an impossible task for hackers as recent events have shown. Passwords can be easily obtained in so many ways. To help protect your data, it is important that your password follows certain guidelines. Password requirements suggested on websites might not be enough to stop you from being hacked and the last thing you want is someone snooping through sensitive information.

COMPLEXITY
Make sure your password is complex. A very simple password will be easy to guess so it is very important that a user’s password has a certain level of complexity. Having a mixture of number letters and symbols is essential. For example, a password like 'red1988' is a lot easier to hack than a password like '++Green758304**'.

LENGTH
Ensure you password is long. The general rule of thumb is the more characters you have the more secure the password. If your password is 3 characters long and includes your data of birth like the example above it will easier to hack than a password with 15 characters and no easily obtainable personal information.

DURATION
Your password needs to sustain a high level of security. By changing your password periodically, this increases security as oppose to keeping the same password and using it login on multiple platforms. This is a common mistake users make, not only can the hacker obtain your password but they will also try this on other platforms to gain access.

HISTORY
If your password is similar to an old password it will be easier for a hacker to obtain. For example, if you have a password such as ‘Pineapple1’ and the password is somehow leaked, it would not be wise to change the password to something similar like ‘Pineapple2’. You should always try to avoid creating patterns with password history.

STORING PASSWORDS
You really need to consider where you are storing your passwords. Maybe you have all your passwords stored on a notepad file on your laptop or mobile phone. What happens if they get stolen? The thief potentially has the key to all your accounts.  In the invent that something like this happens to you, you need to make sure your passwords are discretely hidden. For example, you should not leave a file in plain view on your desktop called 'PASSWORDS'. If you are storing your password non-electronically, e.g. on a post-it note, you should not leave it in the area of another device with a matching password. It should be left in a different location as it might be easy to find and use. Apps like Dashlane allow you to store passwords safely and securely.

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