5 Little Password Tips to Secure Your Clients’ Networks
Cybersecurity expert outlines five best ways to create hard-to-crack passwords for home networks.
With the recent news that Equifax had its entire system breached, it’s important for CE pros to help safeguard their customers’ home networks. It starts, of course, with passwords.
“There is really no excuse for not changing the passwords from the default on any piece of equipment you install,” says Rob Krug, security solutions architect for Sonicwall. Krug spoke at the Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group’s 2017 Fall Conference in Chicago last week about cybersecurity.
“The hackers have done their homework. They do research on the Internet to create their exploit kits. They know you better than you think,” says Krug, who cited a recent analysis done by an actual hacker to help other hackers crack systems. From that research, he offers these five very important password-creation tips for integrators:
Don’t Use Only Lowercase Letters and Numbers -- Just under half of all passwords (47 percent) use only lowercase letters. About 90 percent of all passwords use solely lowercase letters and numbers only (either before or after the letters), and more specifically 35 percent of all passwords use lowercase letters followed by numbers.
“If your password is simply alphanumeric, meaning lowercase letters and numbers only, and it is less than 14 characters, it takes a hacker less than one second to crack it using a brute force hacking tool. I am not kidding.”
Add Uppercase Letters -- Uppercase letters appear in less than 1 percent of all passwords used. Unfortunately, some systems are not case sensitive and will not allow you to use uppercase letters.
Use Special Characters -- Special characters (asterisks, ampersands, dollar signs, hyphens, etc.) appear in less than 4 percent of all passwords. It is a good idea to add them to any password
Put Special Characters First -- Character order matters! Just 0.02 percent of passwords begin with a special character.
Use 13 or 14 Characters – More than 91 percent of passwords had lengths between eight and 14 characters. Exactly 23 percent of all passwords use exactly eight characters. If your passwords are 13 or 14 characters, you will be in the rare 9 percent of passwords.
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Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org
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