Your Data security: We take your data security very seriously but is your password the weakest link?

data security

We take the security of your data extremely seriously and we have multiple controls in place to ensure that your data is secure. On our website you will see that we are secured by Site Lock and you can view our Cyber Essentials and Astrid GDPR certification.

All of our services are available to our clients online and we are confident that it is already highly secure. We always want it to be even better and in order to enhance your security further we have asked our software providers to consider adding facial or fingerprint recognition, or by developing multi-factor authentication, however, that development is beyond our control. Currently the weakest link could be your password, and this is where you can help by ensuring that you adopt a robust password system.

My first recommendation is that you test your passwords against a tool such as How Secure is My Password. If you follow that link, try using the word ‘Walsall’ as an example and you will find that it would take only 26 seconds for it to be hacked. If you add the year to make it Walsall2019 this increases the hack time to 41 years and adding an exclamation mark to make it Walsall2019! Increases the hack time to 34 thousand years. Please note that this is an example and not a recommendation and you should experiment with combinations of your own until you are comfortable with your choice. The typical password that I use would take 47 million years to crack.

The next aspect of password control is password storage and there is no point in choosing a difficult password if it is written down on a post-it-note and stuck onto your computer screen (or the digital equivalent). I suggest that you consider a password manager such as Dashlane, RoboForm, 1Password, or one of the other alternatives. If you use a Mac like me then Apple’s Keychain not only stores passwords securely it synchronises them between MacBook, iPad and iPhone and backs them up to your iCloud.

The last word of caution is DO NOT use the same password for all of your accounts. Hacking major services is an all too regular occurrence and if Facebook or another organisation has been hacked and you use your Facebook password to access your bank you could be in serious trouble. Please take a look at the list of data breaches on Wikipedia and will see how many millions have been compromised this way. Many sites suggest that you use your Facebook or Google accounts to register and log in to their sites and while this is a convenient option you should consider what is being exposed. If in doubt use a separate log in – it may take a few more minutes but I suggest that you are better to be safe than sorry.

Going back to Wikipedia take a look at the 25 most common passwords used for 2018 and please make sure that you aren’t one of them! These include:  password, qwerty, admin, and 123456 – if it wasn’t so serious it would make me smile.

I use over a hundred different passwords, all of them with a million year plus hacking time, and they are all stored and accessed via a password manager. If I want to access an account using my password manager on my iPhone it uses facial recognition, on my MacBook and my iPad it uses fingerprint recognition.

My caution regarding passwords is not meant to frighten you, indeed my intention is the opposite and I want you to have confidence when using the internet and to enjoy your experience without experiencing any problems. A little bit of forethought using the suggestions above will give you all the security that you need. Unfortunately, I have experience of clients who have left it too late and they have experienced the worry and concern when they have been hacked. If there is one thing that you do today, please bolt that stable door.

I am afraid that as in all areas of our lives nothing will ever be 100% safe but if you make your access sufficiently difficult the amateur hackers will go elsewhere. There are millions of people who do not apply common sense to their internet security and the hackers will go for those easier targets.

The professional hackers are likely to spend their time on something more remunerative, so they won’t bother with you unless you have the odd million floating around that you haven’t told me about! If you have that odd million pounds lying around, then give me a call without delay.

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