5 reasons why the world’s strongest Password will not protect you

Cybercrime has become a well-established industry, so having a bad password is asking for trouble; having a strong password is no assurance of security.

Passwords, essentially the gate-keepers of your financial and personal course of action online, are extremely crucial in safeguarding your identity. However, more often than not, what should be treated sensitively becomes just another hurdle for the user to cross before they can utilize the benefits promised. So while some users have incredibly complex passwords, riddled with upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers and special characters, other passwords are as easy as ‘12345678’ or just the word ‘password’!

Today, cybercrime has become a well-established industry so having a bad password is asking for trouble and even having a strong password is no assurance of security. Following are some tips and best practices you could adopt to ensure privacy of sensitive data which could help in keeping potential invaders at bay.

Connecting on unsecure networks

Data is the new oil as referred to by many and everyone loves free Wi-Fi since carrier cost can hurt your wallets. However, unsecured public Wi-Fi can be a hot bed for cybercriminals to gather information, and the kind of sensitive data that gets leaked on such networks is startling. So, avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections and if you have to, ensure you disconnect as soon as you are done.  

Be vigilant the morning after

In some situations, a complex password can help you. But in others, where the responsible firm cuts corners and stores it in plain sight without encrypting, the complexity applied becomes redundant. Even the world’s leading firms get compromised. What can we do in this case? Stay abreast of news cycles and change your login details immediately if you happen to be a user of that service, even if you think that your details were not compromised. Apathy can be extremely costly.

It is your fault if it is default

2016 saw one of the world’s largest cyberattacks wherein a programme was used to search the Internet for IoT gadgets that use default passwords or simple passwords, infected them and then assembled them into a “botnet”— a collection of devices that could be controlled by hackers. As connected home and an IoT environment becomes inevitable, ensure you reset the default passwords of all connected devices.

Two factor authentication makes it twice as tough

“Two are better than one”, is a phrase that best explains the nature of the two factor authentication. This method involves introduction of a second layer of verification that heightens the security level provided. However, the additional effort is also measurably a strong deterrent for external entities trying to compromise your account.

Common sense, please

As straightforward as this may sound, it really is not. It is not uncommon to friends and family share images of their boarding passes or visa stamps on social media, or store images of credit cards and other identity documents in unsecured environments. Avoid doing this because every piece of information in the hands of a cybercriminal is a potential risk.

The writer is Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix

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security cyber crime cyber attack passwords


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