Technology Advisor Blog

A hacker has your password.  Now what?

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 1/17/19 11:25 AM

Hacker_PasswordThis week an astonishing 773,000,000 records were released in a monster breach.  Security researcher Troy Hunt first reported the data set which includes 772,904,991 unique email addresses and over 21 million unique passwords, all recently posted to a hacking forum.

Hunt reports that the data was posted on line for anyone to take and not even up for sale in the dark corners of the web.  In fact, not only is this the largest breach to become public, it’s second only to Yahoo’s breaches which affected 1 billion and 3 billion users, respectively. Fortunately, the stolen Yahoo data hasn’t surfaced, yet, but there's a good chance that if your information isn't out there yet, it will be soon.  

What can you do?

After your data appears in a hacker forum or somewhere on the Dark Web, there's no way to take it back.  For many, this is a wake up call to take better care of password safety.

  1.  Use STRONG passwords.  In this particular case, it doesn't matter how strong your password is, if its out there its out there, but using strong passwords is a general safety tip to help prevent many other types of cyber attacks.  
  2. Use UNIQUE passwords.  NEVER use the same password (or simple variation) for multiple sites or applications.  Your banking passwords should not be the same as your gym membership password.
  3. Change your passwords frequently.  When you hear about a major breach, this is a good reminder to change your passwords as it could be a long time before your credentials wind up for sale.  Think of it like changing batteries in your smoke detectors.  Use some calendar (daylight saving time?) to trigger the change.  Anything other than using the same password for years.
  4. Use a password manager.  Think about it.  If you need to use STRONG passwords, and UNIQUE passwords, that you change regularly, there is no way to remember these.  If just one employee in your organization cuts corners, this could put you and your organization at risk.
  5. Get Dark Web Monitoring to protect your business.  When breaches make the headlines, everyone takes notice, but this activity happens frequently, and your data can be for sale on the Dark Web long before anyone publicly announces a breach.  Think of Dark Web Monitoring as an early warning system.
  6. Use Two Factor Authentication wherever possible.  If your password is compromised, no one can get access to your stuff without the second authentication.    Many users see this as an inconvenience, but it's a critically important safety measure to safeguard your information.
  7. Educate your employees on cybersecurity.  One weak link and your business may be at risk.  Too many users still think "it won't happen to me", and too many SMBs think they're under the radar because they're too small.  

For more information on the latest breach, check out a comprehensive summary in  Wired Magazine.  

At Ekaru, we're on a mission to provide enterprise-call service to small businesses.  Please give us a call if you have any questions, or to assess your current security situation.  We're here to help!

 

 

 

Tags: cybersecurity, password, Dark Web

Want to achieve your goals in 2019?  Get organized and take action!

Posted by Nancy Amato on 1/3/19 10:50 AM

This Year I WillIt's a new year and a great time to get organized so you can achieve your goals for the year.  January is a great time for business planning, and how you effectively use your time will have a big impact on your ability to achieve your goals.
  • Before leaving work each day create a To-Do list of your priorities for the next working day.  Don’t forget to do this on Fridays.  It will help you become more organized.
  • As you begin your To-Do list never spend more than 30 minutes being confused. Stop ask for help or - you are wasting time.  These are the boundaries you need to set for yourself.
  • One benefit of time management is that if you follow your daily list, it will reduce your stress level.
  • Set up deadlines on your projects. Put a time limit on your tasks.
  • Follow your prioritized list by completing the most critical and demanding tasks first thing in the morning if possible.
  • Schedule a break if needed every 90 minutes for a quick glass of water or a cup of coffee. This will help you maintain high productivity throughout the day.
  • Exercise and regulating your sleep patterns also helps with time management. Any form of relaxation is important.   Exercise is also considered a great stress reliever.  Going to bed the same time every night and waking up the same time every day helps with your overall wellbeing.  Many presenters have brought this up during the Hubspot Inbound conference.
  • Never procrastinate. You know the famous saying ‘Why put off tomorrow what you can do today? Procrastination wastes your time and your company’s time. I recently saw 'Mary Poppins Returns', and Emily Blunt said "Today or Never" - a great motto to live by!
  • This one is tricky: Learn how to multitask!  When working in a fast paced environment it’s the only way to survive some days.  This is not easy and may take lots of practice!
  • Start each day by being on time at work. Everyone has traffic to deal with and family morning rituals, but always give yourself extra time to get to work. If you start your day late everyday then you should stay later to make up your time so why start off late everyday…It’s a waste of your time!

 

If you need a little help with time management try a popular app called Toggl.  This app helps you improve what you are doing during the day.  Toggl will help you see where your time is spent and it will help improve your daily routines.

Tags: SMB, Time Management

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