Have you ever heard of the saying “Loose Lips Sink Ships”? If you’re from the Greatest Generation then you definitely know how important this is! If you’re a younger generation, the meaning behind the phrase originated in WWII. It was prevalent on propaganda posters urging Americans to be careful about what they say because sensitive information could cause great harm to our soldiers’ lives. The reality was that when it comes to security, you could never be too safe. This analogy applies to your online presence today.
Security of your online accounts is absolutely critical and it’s the reason I am diverting my attention to this topic today.
I have some friends who have recently gone through a very tough time in their business. They provide amazing products for web design professionals, but their website server was attacked by a hacker and thousands of customer accounts were compromised. In the process, it is likely that this cyber creep was able to gain access to the accounts and passwords of the customers. There are many lessons that can be extrapolated from this unfortunate situation, but the one idea I want to share today is about your passwords.
Protect Your Assets
Cyber attacks are on the rise. Many online businesses will be the focus of these attacks, directly or indirectly, in the future. While not all of these malicious intentions can be avoided, there are steps that can be taken to protect your assets online.
It’s easy to want to place blame on the company who was compromised, but there are times when we could also be at fault because many of us lack proper discipline in creating passwords that are difficult to break. Using the word ‘password’ as your password is just asking for your accounts to be hacked! Sadly, many people will also use the same password for all of their accounts and this only opens up Pandora’s Box. Who is to blame then when a hacker is easily able to gain access to your bank account or credit card information because of weak passwords? Ultimately it is YOU. You are who is responsible for creating and using effective passwords that keep cyber-hackers at bay.
Here are a few tips for creating effective passwords:
- Don’t use passwords that are easy to break. DUH, right? The reality is that plenty of people will use something like password, myname1234, or ilovecats to secure their online identities. This is a big no no! Avoid using birthdays, anniversaries, children’s names, or anything that hackers can easily figure out about you online or offline.
- Make your passwords long. Google and other companies have encouraged users to use long strings of text or numbers that make it more difficult to break. A password like dov4jI3Moc9pHeeph1oT0iaL is better than dov4jl3.
- Use a different password for every account. I know that this can be a pain, but you are better off having a unique password for each of your online identities so that hackers can’t break into multiple accounts.
- Randomize or misspell words to make it more complicated. Instead of using PaperTiger1980 for your password, try using Pap3rTig3r198o instead.
- Don’t write them down on paper or in word documents where people can easily get access to them. If someone wants your information don’t make it easy for them! Scrap pieces of paper with your passwords next to your computer isn’t protecting you. And neither is a word document on your computer. People can hack your computer and get access to the magical kingdom.
A Better and Easier Way to Do Passwords!
Several months ago I decided to do something different and try an app that would help me created difficult passwords AND remember them for me. I have over 40 accounts just for myself and that doesn’t include client websites and other accounts I must have access to. Imagine trying to keep all that straight. 1Password has been incredible!
1Password Saved My Life
OK, maybe saved my life is a bit over the top, but it certainly has made my life easier. 1Password gives you the ability to make strong, encrypted passwords with a click of a button and then save them to your 1Password account. All you have to do is remember your one main password (again, make sure this is strong) and then you can access all of your online accounts through the app. If you’re surfing on your desktop browser or using your mobile device, 1Password has got you covered.
What I like about this app is that I don’t have to spend time digging through locked up files or password protected documents on my local device. When I need access to my online accounts, I login via the web browser and BOOM … I click the login and 1Password does the work for me. It is available for multiple devices and platforms. There really is no reason that you can’t protect your greatest assets online anymore, or at the bare minimum, make hacking more difficult for the hackers.
There is one more topic I want to discuss in this post before wrapping up: website protection.
As a small business owner, your website is important. It might even be the biggest driver of profits for your business. Doesn’t it make sense to do all you can to protect it and keep it safe? It’s essential that you keep great tabs on suspicious malware and website security issues that could take down your website or expose your confidential information.
Fortunately for all ClickHOST.com clients, they provide top-notch security practices and have partnered with Sucuri, the industry expert for website protection. You are provided with assurance that your website properties are safe as a part of your plan. If you currently are using a website hosting company that doesn’t offer this as a part of their service, you really should. I recommend you contact the ClickHOST.com team to learn more.
Don’t Let Ships Sink
While it may seem inconvenient and time consuming to implement some of these best practices right now, it can save you a lot more down the road. Don’t neglect this today. Secure your sites and secure your online identities or you will reap what you sow.