What You Should Know About Cybersecurity

Our lives are so heavily dependent on technology that tech-moguls like Elon Musk have already likened humans to cyborgs — albeit a relatively primitive version. We use our phones, tablets, computers, smart home appliances, and a cornucopia of other devices daily. We store our data in the cloud, we socialize with our friends and family virtually, and we even do the majority of our work online. But how many of us think about our security online? 

With the considerable amount of personal and sensitive information we share on the web, cybersecurity should be a critical aspect of our lives. Here is what you should know about cybersecurity.

Password Managers 

To remember and organize all of the passwords they need, many people use password managers. Such applications will remember your password and suggest hard-to-crack passwords when you need a new one. This can prove to be a powerful tool, but you need to make sure you choose the right one, especially if you are protecting your corporate cyberspace. Corporations should hire professionals to frequently test and assess their cybersecurity in order to ensure their safety. The experts at this Austin based IT company recommend using free security testing that is offered by many firms to see how secure your data truly is. While this may seem over the top, you are likely using a password managing tool unknowingly. Does your browser, like Google Chrome, remember your passwords for you? That is a password manager that can easily leave you susceptible to hacking if you log onto a chrome browser on a computer that isn’t yours. You see, such tools often only need the foreign computer’s login password to access all your login credentials, so consider your password management wisely to avoid such scenarios. 

Password Variance

Passwords are the key form of protection, we have these days. A password is like a modern-day drawbridge to the castle that is our online life. With every website and online platform requiring a password, remembering them, organizing them, and making sure they’re all ‘strong’ is a challenge. Many use the same password for all of their accounts, which is highly inadvisable. 

Using the same, exact password for all the online platforms you use makes you susceptible to security breaches. If you struggle to manage the number of passwords you need, try to diversify the passwords you use based on a sequence that’s easy for you to remember. For example, if your password has a numeric segment, change these numbers in a specific pattern from one website to another. If your password uses a string of punctuation characters, mix those characters in the order in which you type them. You need to have different passwords for the different devices, websites, and platforms that you frequent.

Password Strength

Most online platforms will now rate your password’s ‘strength’ and ask you to make your password more complex if needed to give you added security. Password strength is determined by a variety of factors, but it mainly depends on the password length and complexity. Each factor helps protect you from different methods of password hacking. 

 

Password length is arguably the most important factor in fortifying your online security. There are applications out there that will use specific algorithms to test out every combination and permutation of letters, numbers, and characters to try and hack your password. A four-digit passcode will have 10,000 possible entries whereas a five-digit code will have 10 times as many, and this is only accounting for numerical inputs. The number of combinations and permutations increases significantly with an alphanumeric or a long password, which means you should focus on the length as well as the complexity of your passwords. 

While simply having a long password helps, it’s not infallible. Many people use common phrases such as “iloveyou” or their phone number for their password. Experienced hackers can predict such passwords easily, and will often attempt these passwords before using any software to try and crack your security. You need a complex and long password to make it difficult for hackers to predict. Some people will think of a sentence such as ‘Joanna has been my best friend since third grade!” and use the first letter to create a long, complex password that uses letters, numbers, and symbols; “Jhbmbfs3rdg!” Note how it uses uppercase and lowercase letters too. 

Encryption

You can encrypt your data to keep it secure if it is breached. Many readily available applications out there can encrypt your data so that if your security measures are breached, your data remains secure. Encryption also helps in the event that your data is intercepted, not just stolen. With all the digital communication apps we use, our messages can be intercepted, but if encrypted, they will prove to be of no value to the hacker.

While we may feel like we have nothing of value to protect, we have endless sensitive information that we need to keep safe. Our banking login credentials, photos, videos, and message history can all be hacked if we do not take the necessary measures to protect them. For that reason, use long, complex passwords to keep your data safe. 

 

Chung Nguyen