We often get carried away with what the cyber universe has to offer – copious amount of fascinating, intriguing and often fun images, videos, news and stories. In our excitement, we happily click on any links with the keen anticipation of what we might find!
However, with each click lies the potential of an unknown or often times, invisible intruder ready to embed a virus to steal your identity.
Cyber intruders intend to cause harm in cyberspace, such as a hacker stealing personal information. They, then, become you and gain access to every aspect of your life – at work, at home or at school.
You are what they are after. Impersonating you will allow them access to many aspects of your life – e.g. your bank accounts which they can financially benefit from, the contacts of your family and friends whom they can exploit thereafter, etc.
The Internet is created by and accessible through computer networks that share information and facilitate communication. Unlike the physical world, cyberspace has no boundaries across air, land, sea, and space.
There is a range of motives, including seeking confidential information, money, credit, prestige, or revenge. Some just do it for fun. The majority of cyber criminals are indiscriminate.
Information Technology may have created greater convenience in our daily lives, whether at work, at home or at school, but our growing dependence on IT demands greater security online. We are our own first line of defence in guarding against any online risks.
The Password Guide
Most people would admit to having a universal password for the ease and convenience of remembering, not really knowing the danger this may pose. The basis of hacking is to steal one’s identity, which means, knowing your username and your password to gain access to your online accounts.
Mistakes Commonly Made When Creating Passwords
- Using personal information about yourself or family members. This includes the generic information that can be obtained about you easily via social media. This may also include your favorite food, sports and pop idols.
- Passwords that are the same as your username or part of your username.
- Using a real word from any language that can be found in a dictionary or common colloquialism.
- Using sequences, i.e. consecutive alphabets, numbers or keys on the keyboard. E.g. abcde, 12345, qwerty, asdfgh
- Using any of the above in reverse sequence and any of the above with a number in front or at the back.
- Using a word found in the dictionary with a number substitution for the word look-alike. E.g. Replacing the letter “O” with the number “0” in “passw0rd”.
- Using the default password as supplied by the system vendor and meant to be changed at installation time.
Tips On Creating Strong Passwords
- Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, plus punctuation and numbers. Using all four types of characters works the best. E.g. Instead of using “Thank You”, use “Th@n1<y0U”.
- Passwords should be at least eight characters long. The longer they are, the harder to crack.
- Try to make your passwords as meaningless and random as possible.
- Create a password from a phrase. E.g. “My Father was 50 years old last year” could be made into “Mfw50yoLY”.
How You Can Manage Your Passwords
- Do not use a common password for all your accounts.
- Use a memorable password that you do not need to store in your computer or your mobile phone.
- If you have your passwords written down somewhere, do not link them to their respective accounts.
- Do not answer “yes” when prompted to save the password on any particular computer, including your own.
- Remember to clear your browser history.
- Never communicate a password to anyone, especially via email or instant messenger. Passwords should always be kept private.
- Remember to change your passwords frequently. The more important the account, the more frequently the password should be changed.
- Never click an email link and log in to any site from an email. Always type in the URL yourself. This will help you avoid phishing attacks.
- There are many online services that will help you gauge the strength of your password.
- Adopt 2nd Factor Authentication (2FA) practices to further secure your online activities.
It is always tempting to use your username, birth date or some combination of personal information as your password.
However, with the rise of social media, it takes only an average hacker to figure out these passwords.
Passwords provide the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer. This responsibility can truly lie only in our own hands.
Adopt 2nd Factor Authentication For Maximum Security
2FA, which stands for 2nd Factor Authentication, is an additional layer of protection that typically requires a device that is unique to the holder. The OneKey Pad is such a device. The password generated in this device is only privy to the device’s user.
Introduction to 2FA