Cybersecurity and you: Why 2024 needs to be the year you lock down your accounts | News | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Hello, Millennial dad here. We will talk about your cybersecurity in a second, but I want to get something off my chest first.

In high school, one of my best friends was named Mike. We thought we were so incredibly clever when we made our log-in passwords for everything “password.” The conversation would go something like, “Hey Chris, what’s your password?” My response was, “Password.” So clever…

That “password” would take a hacker less than one second to crack. But your very own take on a clever password probably isn’t enough.

Simple Passwords

According to NordPass VPN, the top five most common passwords in the United States are,

  • 123456
  • password (really people?!)
  • admin
  • 1234

Four of the five on that list would take less than a second to figure out. The exception is “UNKNOWN.” That would take 17 minutes. If you use any of these passwords, stop reading and change them. Then come back because we aren’t done.

The other thing you shouldn’t do is use the same password for everything. If you do, the bad guy could quickly get into all of your accounts with the same email address and password.

Okay, I’m changing it now – but what should it be?

The quick answer is letters, numbers and symbols. That sounds complicated, but it should be – sorry. We are going to use the word password for example. How could you fix that word (please do not let your password be any version of this word – this is an example) to make it much more secure?

Start by changing some of those letters to symbols or numbers.

Dollar signs for the SS and a zero for the O. We aren’t done, though. You’ll need some numbers. So let’s try –

Maybe the numbers are the address of your childhood home? Something you can remember – but not easy to figure out.

Last step – we need to change some upper lower, and then maybe add a symbol at the end.

That, my friends, looks much better.

One more thing -2FA

2FA what? You might not have heard of it shortened. It’s called two-factor authentication. Many sites are starting to make you do this, but here’s what it is and why that’s a good thing.

So, let’s say someone cracks your password. If you have 2FA on…that password won’t be enough for the bad guy.

When setting up your account, you likely needed a phone number. If you have 2FA on, you could have it text (or call) you a one-time code you’ll need to enter before you can log in. This means if someone gets your password, you’ll still need to approve a log-in with something that goes directly to your phone.

Can I find out if I’ve been hacked?

Yes – kind of. There are several websites where you can enter your email address and see if you’ve fallen victim to a data breach.

My favorite is this one, called ‘Have I Been Pwned.’ 

This site shows you the companies that’ve fallen victim to a data breach. That means if Facebook (for example) had a massive hack and a bunch of passwords and other information got stolen, this site will tell you if you’ve been impacted.

Credit: Have I Been Pwned 

The other is Norton, the antivirus company. According to their site, the tool will help you check and see if your email address shows up on the dark web.

Speaking of dark web…

What do hackers do with your password?

No, they don’t want to update your social media accounts and change your status to single…or whatever. That’s the goal of your buddy who finds your phone unlocked.

I use a password manager called Keeper. On the company’s website – they break down how much cash your information is worth. Most of your information isn’t worth much.

  • Netflix, Hulu and your social security number – less than $3
  • Driver’s license – $20
  • Credit Card – $8 to $22
  • Complete medical record – up to $1,000

Whoah…okay, so that escalated quickly. Why are your medical records so expensive? Your credit card number might make them a quick buck, but those numbers will likely get shut down quickly.

Keeper says your medical records are valuable because they don’t change. That information can often be used to blackmail a person, making them pay money to keep their medical history private.


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National Cyber Security