From staff reports

Protecting against cyberattacks is essential in the world we live in today. Here is just one example that should make you think twice about better security:

Several bugs in Microsoft, Ubuntu and Tesla products have been found and exploited at a hacking conference in Vancouver.

Yes, they have hacking conferences.

Cybersecurity is easy to ignore, but should be at the top of your list to protect yourself or your business. A single breach could be catastrophic.

The Identity Theft Research Center reported these variations in 2021:

MeetMindful Cybersecurity Breach

Dating app MeetMindful suffered a cybersecurity attack in January 2021, resulting in the theft and leakage of the data of over two million users.

CNA Financial Violation

A ransomware attack on insurance company CNA Financial has left employees locked out of their systems and prevented from accessing company resources.

Cyberattack on social networks

Data from 530 million Facebook users was published online in April 2021. Facebook said the information was obtained by scraping in 2019.

Your chances of safety

Whether companies like CNA and Facebook get hacked, what chance do you have of preventing a cyberattack? The answer can be as simple as “123456”.

Incredibly, “123456” is the most commonly used password in most places in the world. Others that rank high are “password” and “qwerty” (watch your keyboard, and you’ll see why that’s popular). But simplistic options aren’t the only troubling trend in common passwords.

What’s in a name?

Unfortunately, the answer to this Shakespearian question is an easy clue to someone’s password.

  • 42.3% use their first name in the online passwords they create
  • 40% use their surname
  • 31.6% use their middle name

Other personal information commonly used in passwords are date of birth, social security number, phone number, pet’s name, child’s name, or ex-name. partner.

How to use stronger passwords

Common passwords are bad passwords. It’s so simple. Why? They are too easy for a hacker to guess. But what is a strong password? Here are some suggestions:

  • Long: Most experts recommend 12-15 characters (or more) for a strong password.
  • Random: Letters, numbers and symbols with no special meaning are the strongest passwords. You can find random password generators online.
  • Unique: It’s simple, use a different password for each account. Repeating passwords or formulas means hackers only need to find one password to get more.

A strong password is the first line of defense against cyberattacks. But there are other steps you can take to bolster your defenses.

According to Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security AgencyThere are four basic steps to follow to ensure your cybersecurity:

  • Implement multi-factor authentication. This makes it 99% less likely that you will be hacked.
  • Update your software. In fact, enable automatic updates.
  • Think before you click. 90% of cyberattacks come from phishing emails.

The fourth is…you guessed it…a strong password!

The University of Victoria in Australia also offers tips for keeping your websites secure:

Check if you have ever experienced a security breach – Visit haveibeenpwned.com and take action on any accounts that may have been compromised.

Trust no one (on emails) – Always be vigilant and skeptical of deceptive emails and compromised web pages (spam and phishing). Interacting with them puts your information at risk and can download viruses.

Secure your device – If your mobile device is unsecured, lost or stolen, hackers could use it to access your information and steal your money, identity or data.

  • install anti-virus software
  • set a password, gesture or fingerprint that must be entered to unlock
  • configure the device to require a password when installing apps
  • leave Bluetooth hidden when not in use and disable automatic connection to networks
  • activate the lock and/or remote wipe functions if your device supports them.

The world we live in

Like it or not, the world is digital and interconnected. So while we need to protect ourselves, we all need to protect the systems we rely on. Being cyber-smart is contagious. Follow the basic steps and help your friends and colleagues do the same.

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