Business Focused IT Support

Password Security

by Nicki Dowsett in IT Support, IT Systems, Password Security

How Secure is your data?

I spoke to my friend this morning, her Facebook account has been hacked.  She is experiencing strange statuses being posted on her account.  My instructions to her – change your password asap.  She doesn’t know her password it is stored on her devices so whenever she wants to go on to her social media she just loads the page or app.  However someone out there knows her password.  I asked if this was the same password for her email account, online shopping accounts and anything else.  Her response – probably!!  I could not stress enough to her to get on line as soon as she went home to get it all changed, and don’t save passwords on devices.

Social Media

You may think well it’s only social media they can get into – that’s just the start.  We are becoming increasingly aware of the number of people and business that are being hacked.  Here at MPR IT we have been made aware through speaking to contacts within the industry and also our customers that more and more people are being hacked.  I personally have read an article that in parts of the world there are crime organisations that employ computer experts solely with the intention to hack accounts.  It starts with just £1 being taken from a bank account with amounts increasing.  The bank sees that you have paid the recipient previously so aren’t concerned.  Then sometime later you notice a considerable amount missing from your account and its too late.  The money cannot be retrieved.  We have previously written a blog about Ransonware such as Crypto locker, it is reported that over the last year over £1.5 Billion was made through this software.

Spam Email

My dad is forever calling me with “I got an email today from a bank that I have never had an account with saying I need to reconfirm my details”.  Every time I say the same thing, ”Dad, don’t even bother opening these emails, delete them immediately”.  Yet he still questions it time and again.  These people that hack our computers and accounts are relentless.  They will bombard thousands of people with these type of emails.  If they get one person that responds it is still a result for them.

If you get such an email and you think it could be from an account you have such as Paypal or Itunes, please disregard the email. The chances are it is not from Paypal or itunes.  These companies will never ask you to reconfirm any information.  If you do happen to click on the link you will be taken to a website that looks identical to the true page.  If you are in doubt the best thing is to close down your browser completely and then open a new one, go to the true site and check your details.

Network Security

We have come across incidents where hackers have accessed the network and monitor the goings on within your internal emails or emails to customers.  They use the information of how you work and replicate this.  One example we have come across is that a company has emailed Joe Bloggs a customer the bank details to pay an invoice.  5 minutes later Joe Bloggs got an email saying sorry I gave you the wrong account.  Please make payment to this account.  That second email did not come from you but Joe thinks it did.  2 months later you are chasing him for payment and he is adamant he paid.  He did – to the hackers. Now both companies have lost a considerable amount of money – never to be seen again.  The banks and Police are powerless as this money has been spread across multiple accounts throughout the world.

We recommend that you follow our simple rules and change some small ways in which you work – follow up emails concerning payments or bank transfers with a quick call.  Did you get my email?  If anything changes I will call you.  Any time you think your PC is behaving weirdly – close everything down, disconnect the internet, turn your router & switch off.  It won’t just be your PC but the whole office affected.  Then contact MPR immediately to get assistance.  The longer you leave the network connected the more damage can be done.  Not only will they steal money but to hide any trace of the hack they will wipe everything and I mean wipe everything from your systems, we have seen blank laptops with not even an operating system left.  This is more money lost as it will be costly and time consuming to rectify and keep your business running.   Another rule is to make a regular back up of your data daily.  This means only 1 day of work is lost and not an entire business.

Please also see http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/crime-threats/cyber-crime/online-threats-to-consumers for any further information.

The Password Rules

The hackers are becoming more sophisticated – we have heard many stories, whether you think they are urban myths or not they need to be taken seriously. We cannot stress strongly enough the following rules:

Never write down or store a note on your PC with your passwords.

Make sure every password is different for each log in you have.

Change your passwords regularly, and randomly not – on the first of every month.

Choose a password that is not obvious – your birthday or PASSWORD is not & never will be secure

Never ever open an email from unknown address

Never ever open attachments from an unknown address.

Back up your systems daily

Ensure you have a reliable anti-virus and malware system in place this will help to slow them down

Any sign of anything untoward shut down PC, and Internet Router and switch

Call MPR IT for immediate assistance.

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