With the recent cyber-attacks on large retail stores like Target and Neiman Marcus, businesses of all sizes must take proper precaution to ensure the security of both their own private data and the personal data of their customers. Aside from an innovative business continuity plan and secure IT support, an efficient business network relies on strong passwords from owners and employees.

According to The Washington Post, the Target hacker used software known as BlackPOS to infect sales systems and steal credit card information along with other financial records. The 17-year old Russian teenager then gained remote access by trying several easy and commonly used passwords, eventually logging in. Using “weak passwords” for your business’s cloud storage can leave your IT network exposed to personal data leaks. As the leading IT specialists, Brash Concepts warns businesses of the potential risk of using vulnerable passwords.

Here are a few IT consulting tips for strengthening your weak passwords to ensure your data remains private:

Strong Passwords: A strong password contains upwards of 14 characters. This includes a combination of upper and lowercase letters as well as at least one number and one symbol.

Use Mnemonic Devices: Do not use the same password for multiple devices and data libraries. Use the first letters of an easy sentence for a strong and unique password for each level of security. Example: a5Ceg: all 5 Cows eat grass.

Passwords Require Consistent Updates: When going through a system update or a network change, it is best to change your password to something new and equally complex.

In addition to privately monitored IT consulting from Brash Concepts, business owners and employees must take individual steps to protect their personal data. Weak passwords can easily leave your business’s confidential files susceptible to cyber-attacks and hacks. Secure your IT data center and develop a reliable business continuity plan with the help of Brash Concepts today!

A weak password is still one of the most common ways hackers break in.

Thanks to sophisticated brute-force-attack software readily available online, hackers can try tens of millions of possible password combinations per second. For example, hacking software can guess a five-character password in under three hours. If you only use lowercase letters, it’s 11.9 seconds.

You KNOW you need to have a better password than “password” or “letmein” if you have any hope of keeping hackers out of your PC.  But what does a “strong” password mean?

A good password should be at least eight characters long or longer! It should contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols that are hard to guess. Don’t use dictionary words with proper capitalization because they’re easy to guess (like Password123#). Even though it meets the requirements we just discussed, it’s easily hacked; remember, hackers have sophisticated password-hacking software that will run 24/7/365.

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! Click here to download this free report that reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself today.

Google is taking yet another important step to help save us from ourselves. The company is releasing a complete redesign of their Chrome browser, which is exciting. There’s one feature in particular, however, that deserves to a special look at: the Google Chrome Password Manager.

The new password manager will offer to generate a random password when you sign into a website for the first time. The randomly generated password will be securely tucked away inside your Google Account and synced across both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.

Password security is something humans aren’t very good at. Despite the risks and the repeated dire warnings, many people still have the tendency to use the same passwords that are only marginally different, across multiple websites they have accounts on.

The problem is that if one of the websites you have an account on is breached, it puts most (if not all) of your other web accounts at risk. It’s an extremely bad habit from a security standpoint, and unfortunately, it is one that has proved to be notoriously difficult to break.

Google’s solution to the problem is interesting, but it should be noted that it is far from all-inclusive. Bear in mind that Chrome only manages passwords inside the browser, so if you log into services like Netflix on your smart TV, those login details won’t be captured in, or stored by your Google Account.

Google isn’t the only company doing what it can to save us from our worst password impulses. Apple is making changes too. With the release of iOS 12, Apple will give its OS the ability to autofill passwords across browsers and apps from third-party password managers.

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