March is Fraud Protection Month, and Diallog is helping spread the word about online security and safety. This week we’re tackling password protection.
Internet fraud is a booming business. In 2014, more than 42,000 complaints were logged by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, with more than $74 million dollars reported lost. Seniors are the most at risk, while those in their 50s experience the greatest financial loss. (Source)
The easiest way to steal your identity is by guessing your password and accessing your online accounts. Hacking software makes this process easier, and starts with easy to guess passwords. Yet, not enough of us realize the implications of an easy password. Did you know that the most common password has traditionally been ‘password’? In 2016, the top 10 passwords were:
The first line of defense against identify theft and online hacking is a strong password. Here are some tips to ensure you’re doing what you can:
- Password Protect Everything
Ensure that everything that you access your accounts on, such as a smart phone or laptop, is password protected. Losing items like your laptop, phone or USB flash drive can happen to anyone. Protecting your devices with a strong password will make it incredibly difficult for someone to break in.
As a rule of thumb: password protect everything.
- Use hard to guess passwords
We strongly advise against obvious passwords, like “password,” “cat,” or obvious character sequences on the qwerty keyboard, like “asdfg” and “12345.” It’s better to use complex passwords.
Password generating software, such as 1Password, that automatically generates hard to guess passwords can be used. These are often available at no cost, and are easy to use.
Tips for Setting Strong Passwords
- Use a unique password for each of your important accounts
- Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters in your password
- Don’t use personal information or common words as a password
- Consider keeping your password to 12 characters (minimum 8 characters)
- Make a passphrase and use all of the above criteria’s (add a hyphen or space, which will count as a special character, to split two words)
- Avoid names, places, and dictionary words.
Some examples: W33k3ndWarr10r (Weekend Warrior)
$e7enal1ig@t0r5inmyb^th (seven alligators in my bath)
- Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts
This is crucial. We’ve heard from clients that had their identity stolen because that had one password for their email account(s), Facebook, Twitter, and banking. When a hacker cracks one, they can use this information to gain access to all your accounts.
Keep separate passwords for everything, and change them often.
If your identity has been compromised, change your passwords immediately. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre advises you take these steps if you are a victim of online fraud.
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by contacting them directly at 1-888-495-8501 or by their secure online fraud reporting system here.
Diallog Telecommunications is a Canadian owned, full service telecommunications provider that has been serving business customers since 1998. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Diallog services customers all over the country with Voice over IP through Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking, PRIs, business lines, Fibre Optics, DSL, and Data Services. If you’re looking for a customer centric telecom company that offers a full range of services, then Diallog is the place for you.