Cyber Security – Prosperity Lending Password Tips

Password Tips for Today’s Crazy World of Guessers and Hackers! 

What is Hacking?  You hear it on the news every other day.  We were Hacked! Russia Hacked us! The most recent political target was Hacked!  In most cases when someone tells you their systems, social media, email or anything else was HACKED all it means is someone guessed their password.  Now, GUESSED does not sound as cool as HACKED, but in the end, it is the same thing.  Unless you want all your passwords easily GUESSED, now is the time to strengthen your passwords and how you manage your ever-increasing list of them. 

•  NEVER USE THE SYSTEM DEFAULT – If you are GIVEN a password for a system by a computer or a person NEVER keep that default as your password.  Once a hacker discovers the DEFAULT password given to users for a given system it is open season for hackers.  They go from user to user and login to wreak havoc and extort money in any way they can figure out. 

•  MAKE YOUR PASSWORDS LONG – This seems obvious, but most people do whatever the minimum required is from the service you are using.  Make your passwords LONGER.  Every digit you add to a password extends the time it takes for a hacker of a computer program to guess your password.  Passwords that are 3 characters take a computer less than 1 second to guess.  Don’t make the math easy for them. 

•  MAKE YOUR PASSWORD A NONSENSE PHRASE – If you use words and phrases that are not REAL and make no sense it is more difficult for a computer or hacker to guess them. 

•  INCLUDE NUMBERS, SYMBOLS, AND UPPERCASE AND LOWERCASE LETTERS – Mix it up and use as many symbols as allowed by the password criteria. 

•  AVOID USING PERSONAL INFORMATION – Hackers that are REALLY trying to get into your systems will use variations of personal information. Your dog’s name, kid’s name, gerbil’s name – don’t use it. 

•  DO NOT REUSE – This is the ultimate party fowl.  Sophisticated hackers in the financial industry especially will take one password they discover to be true and use it in other systems you may have access to.  It is a simple rule – DO NOT REUSE PASSWORDS. 

•  DON’T GIVE OUT PASSWORDS – Don’t share or give out passwords to other people.  There is a reason the systems have passwords.  Tell them sorry and to get their own!  Sharing passwords leads to loose password policies and easy pickens for hackers. 

•  CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS REGULARLY – Most users will leave the password the same unless the system forces them to change.  Unfortunately, not all systems requires regular password changes.  It is up to you to keep your passwords safe.

•  PASSWORD MANAGER – Lastly, you should try to use a password manager.  There are many out there on the market.  Some are even free.  They allow you to store all your passwords using a system that encrypts them.  Some of them will even work on your mobile devices.  An example of one would be LastPass.  Using a password manager makes it much easier to increase the difficulty levels of all your passwords.  Try one out!