With the recent spate in phone hacking and Cloud account breaches, password security is more important than ever. Password management company SplashData, revealed that the top three passwords for 2013 were “123456,” “12345678” and “password” – believe it! Using data that hackers have posted online, the US based company’s annual survey reveals just how easy it is for hackers to gain access to your most private information.
“Cloud itself is very safe,” says Riaan Swart, founder and director of Solv, an IT concierge company based in Cape Town; “think of it as a house with an alarm system, security gates and burglar bars, if you don’t use the security that you’ve got or you become lax and leave your doors and windows open, someone will eventually gain access. The same applies to Cloud.”
“Hackers tend to go after the weaker link in the secure chain and that’s the user,” says Swart. “We tend to use birthdays, pet names and very basic number sets as passwords, these are all very easy for hackers to crack. The bottom line is that as consumers and users of technology we need to be more vigilant around security; don’t leave your phone lying around and ensure that your phone lock pin is a bit more complex than 1234.”
How to hack-proof your life?
Swart offers some useful tips to ensure your personal information remains solely in your grasp:
Password protect yourself:
- Choose good (read difficult) passwords, use capital and small letters, use numbers in between letters and use special characters – & % $ # @ *.
- Don’t use same password on more than one website.
- Don’t write your password on a sticky note on your desk (it happens), or store it on your phone or on your computer. If you’re going to save your passwords on your computer, don’t call the file or folder passwords, give it a different name and only in a ‘code’ that you would understand.
Set up two-step verification:
- This acts as a second layer of authentication for when you reset you password. Over and above getting an email alert, you are sent an SMS to verify changes. The SMS doesn’t cost a cent and in the long run could save you a lot of stress and hassle.
- Google, Gmail, Dropbox, Microsoft, Facebook and a host of other sites offer this security setup, but not a lot of people use it.
Secure your own computer or notebook:
- Ensure all software is up to date.
- Ensure you have Antivirus software installed (max R400 per year) and that you constantly keep it up to date.
- Don’t open unknown email attachments or click links in any emails that you receive from people that you do not know. Rather delete it.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications
021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617
On behalf of Solv
Founder and Director: Riaan Swart