Password Safety Tips For Employees To Avoid Being Hacked

password safety

You could have a top team of employees who are your most trusted team members, however, if they are not using proper password etiquette this could be putting your most sensitive information at risk. As an employer it is always nice to offer password safety tips for your employees from an IT support company. These type of tips can go a long way – they can protect your company from being hacked and help guide employees on the right path to keeping their own accounts secure outside of work. It really is a win for everyone.

Proper education for employees about password safety is key to making sure company information remains safe. 

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind about password safety for employees:

Why Do I Need So Many Passwords???

Passwords and management of those passwords are a big pain – no two ways around it. One website requires a symbol, another requires 14 characters and your bank requires 10 characters, four PIN numbers and the answer to a secret question. It becomes easy to just use the same login for everything and there’s nothing wrong with the password since it passes the test of being secure.

Ok, but here is where there’s a problem with this strategy. Let’s assume that you have a Gmail account, an Amazon account and some accounts at big-box retail stores. You use the same login on all of the sites, and you use it for the account you set up on the amazing website you found to order gift cards for client gifts – at 10% less than their value. Then, the gift-card website gets hacked or falls victim to an attack. Not only do the crooks get your credit-card information, they also get the list of all of the website’s users and those users’ passwords. They publish the list freely out on the Internet. (Don’t believe it? Check out https://rehmann.co/projects/10mil/ )

Since you used the same login on their website as you did on Amazon, Gmail and other websites, all of these accounts are now in the hands of anyone capable of a Google search. That’s why it’s important to have different passwords for each website and application. There is too much personal information that can be easily accessed.

 

Make Sure This Password is Different From Everything Else

We did just shared the importance of using different passwords for Amazon, Gmail and other additional websites especially if you are using these sites to purchase client gifts. However, here’s the one password you will want employees to make unique is an e-mail password. If an e-commerce site you’ve registered at or bought from gets hacked – and you’ve used the same login for your email for the e-commerce site that has just gotten hacked– you can pretty much bet hackers are going to gain access to your in-box. They’ll have your e-mail and your password to the e-commerce site and will use that to hack in. From there, they’ll have fertile ground for getting all your data and other passwords. This can put company information and computer network at risk. 

 

Two-factor what?

You’ve probably seen us mention this in other blog posts. But we’re going to drop this tip right here too.  Two-factor authentication (2FA for short), sometimes called multi-factor authentication, is a system in which you must verify your identity in two separate ways to access an account – this may be a login password, an online account or an account to access an application. This is a great way to encourage password security and help avoid a cyber attack. Here’s an example:

After enabling 2FA on a Gmail email account, each time you log in, you’ll have to input your password. You then get asked to enter a six-digit code that is unique to you and changes every 20 seconds. You get this code from an app on your phone, a jump-drive-sized key fob or a program on your computer. In the above example, you use a smartphone app (there’s one for every type of device, and one app will handle the 2FA codes for each individual account) and input the code. Only then do you have access to your account. You must enter both password and 2FA code each time you access the account. If someone steals your password, they still can’t access your Gmail email account.

If you aren’t currently using two-factor authentication with your most sensitive data and systems, investigate if it’s an option today. The extra 15 seconds to pull up the code and get logged in is laughably short compared to the time spent dealing with a hacked account.

 

Why is it so important to have unique passwords for all your online accounts?

Whether it is for work accounts or personal accounts, a complex password is a necessity in the current age of cyberthreats, data breaches and other security incidents. Those of us who live in reality also know how hard it is to keep the seemingly hundreds of passwords straight, secure and different. 

Why is having different passwords so important? When an online retailer, or a website, gets hacked, oftentimes all you hear in the news is about how many credit cards were lost or what the financial damage was. You rarely hear about the user accounts that were compromised. However, if you have an account on a compromised website, the username and password you used very possibly could be published and available to anybody who wants to look at it at on the Internet. A clever crook knows that you probably use the same password on the compromised website as you do on your eBay, Amazon or other online account that may have a bank account tied to it. A good enough chance that they’re likely to try it anyway. Sure enough, when you used the same password on your eBay account that you also used to set up an account on the compromised website to reserve hotel rooms, buy clothes or whatever else, the hacker now has your eBay credentials.

 

It is possible to keep the password madness under control. Ask us for tricks to having unique but memorable passwords. You might be surprised by how easy it really is and your employees may even thank you for the extra help. The bottom line is that no matter how much of a pain it is, it is very important to have different passwords for each online account.

 

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