Sometimes things don’t go as planned. My morning, for instance. Better late than never. My Friday was kind of crazy, too. There was a cyber attack, caused by an issue with password security, that crippled major websites like PayPal, Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, CNN, Netflix and more. It was the first attack of it’s kind and it will likely happen again. For us, we had to monitor the ability for some of our clients to accept payments.
How was the attack even possible? The answer ties to security and something you are probably very tired of hearing about: passwords.
“Technology experts warned for years that the millions of Internet-connected ‘smart’ devices we use every day are weak, easily hijacked and could be turned against us.” ~ USA Today
Simply put, it is more important than ever that every single smart device, and further, every single online account you use that requires a password should be ultra secure. Don’t use one password for everything. Do not use the default password. Avoid personal information like birthdays, addresses, family names.
Instead, here’s what you should do to ensure password security:
Four random words strung together in a passphrase is harder to hack than words that combine letters and numbers. They are also easier to remember. So try something like correcthorsebatterystaple. (Don’t use that exact passphrase, it is too often used as an example.) Pick words that would not normally be together or do not make sense when put together. Mine is monkeyyogakidneyfish. (gotcha)
If you can’t remember all your passwords, there are two as-secure-as-you-can-get methods for keeping track of them:
- Write them down in a password book in pencil. It’s a good idea, if you can, to write down hints to what your password is instead of the password itself, like mykf instead of monkeyyogakidneyfish.
- The second method is to store them in a google document. It is one of the best places IF…you don’t share the document, you don’t share your password to Google, you keep your devices virus free, and you don’t provide remote access to your devices to others. Google is even more safe if you use two-factor authentication (click to learn).