Password and account security tips to help you stay secure online

Good online security starts with a strong password. As Cyber Security Awareness Month 2020 draws to a close, here are a few password and account security tips to help you remain safe online. Although October is a crucial time to reinforce the importance of being cyber aware, it is vital that Cyber Security retains its place of high priority in your business all year round.

It almost goes without saying that our lives have become more and more dependent on technology to carry out our usual everyday tasks. With increased time spent online, our security risks are heightened. So where do you start with cyber security?

Create a secure, unique password for your online accounts – especially your email

Let me guess, you’ve heard it all before? But the question we ask is: “why haven’t you done it yet?”

According to a recent report by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 2020, almost half of businesses and a quarter of charities have reported a cyber security breach or attack within the last 12 months.

Are you guilty of thinking ‘it won’t happen to us’? Well, think again, because it can and probably will at some point, so, our advice is simple: Do all you can to detect and protect.

Don’t let a weak password be the reason for a data breach. At MFG we recommend you use a different, unique password for each of your online accounts. We understand that for some this may be an annoying request, but at the bare minimum you should be using a separate, strong password for your email account. If your email account becomes compromised it acts as a ‘gateway’ to important confidential data and your other online accounts, particularly if all your accounts use the same password.

Tips for making your password more secure

Make sure your password is unique i.e. you have not used this password for any other account.

Some tips of how to do this:

  1. Combine 2-3 words which are random but memorable to you.
  2. Within your password include a mixture of cases, symbols, and numbers.
  3. Don’t include personal information within your password e.g. family name or pet name
  4. Make sure your password is at least 10 characters
  5. Mix the 3 memorable words around so the words are not easily recognisable
  6. Get into the habit of changing your passwords regularly

The longer and more unique your password is, the harder it will be for a hacker to successfully crack.

Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

A strong password alone, sometimes isn’t enough. One of the best and most effective ways of keeping your accounts secure is through enabling Multi-factor Authentication. This security feature is free on most online accounts and offers an additional layer of protection, reducing the chance of your account being compromised. There are various forms of MFA, but the most widely used types are text message verification, an Authentication app or a physical authentication key. At MFG, we recommend using this feature on everything and anything you possibly can. But most importantly, it is essential to enable MFA on email and Microsoft 365 accounts.

How to manage multiple passwords

If you have trouble managing several password – which is not unusual with the average person having around 100 passwords, according to a report by Nordpass – a simple way to manage your extensive list of passwords is through a reliable password manager. This manager enables you to remember just one password and let the manager securely store the others for you.

Regularly check your accounts for any suspicious activities

Most online accounts offer recent sign in activity and can even notify you when an account is accessed by an unknown device. A simple activity you should get into the habit of doing is checking your accounts for any suspicious activity and if you suspect any unusual activity then instantly change your password and check to see if any breach has taken place.

Layer up in account security

Finally, layer as much as you can. The more layers to your Cyber Security strategy the more protection you gain and the harder it is for a cyber-criminal to gain access to your accounts. Generally, a secure, unique and strong password, used together with MFA enabled is a very good starting point to account security.

Need further help with your Cyber Security?

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly Cyber Team at MFG with any queries or concerns you may have regarding your Cyber Security. Call 0118 914 8800 (opt 1) or email info@mfg-uk.com.

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