22 Jan 2016
The problem with passwords

The problem with passwords

Posted by Mark Thomas

For Security News

Yet again this week, password security is under the spotlight.

The media is taking the subject by storm, with new reports from a variety of sources highlighting the extent of the problem.

As a nation, we are incredibly bad at creating secure passwords. With the top of the worst being ‘123456’ and the word ‘password’ itself, we really are leaving ourselves vulnerable to malicious attacks.

It might be considered a long password such as ‘1qaz2wsx’ is a good bet. But no, using the first two columns of keys on a standard keyboard makes for easy pickings for even a novice hacker.

In the world of business communications, toll fraud has made a significant comeback. In the new age of telephony, SIP toll fraud is a risky business. Hacking online to gain access to business phone lines enables the perpetrator to make long distance calls at the company’s expense. Easy passwords simply facilitate this process.

With this in mind, now is a great time to review ways to protect yourself online.

  • Make your password long. The recommended minimum is eight characters but the longer the better
  • Use a mix of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols
  • Avoid words that are in dictionaries. Some password deciphering programs can crack passwords by going through databases of known words
  • Substitute characters, eg use the number zero instead of the letter O, or replace S with a dollar sign
  • Avoid easy to guess words that are not in the dictionary, eg your name, the names of pets, relatives or home town
  • Never reuse passwords on multiple accounts
  • Use two passwords. This is available with some services but not all

If your current passwords do not match the criteria, it would be advisable to change them immediately!

Bistech is ISO/IEC 27001 compliant which is the most recognised accreditation for security management in business. Audited by BSI, Bistech consistently passes all audits, year on year, with zero non conformities.

For further advice on business security, please contact Bistech on 03330 11 22 55.