Welcome to Part 2 of the Alta Pro Cybersecurity Awareness Checklist. This post will highlight the need for strong passwords and password managers to protect your systems.
“Passwords are the keys to your digital castle,” says the National Institute of Standards and Technology. “Creating, storing and remembering passwords can be a pain, but the truth is that passwords are your first line of defense against cybercriminals and data breaches. Also, it has never been easier to maintain your passwords with free, simple-to-use password managers. With a few moments of forethought today, you can stay safe online for years to come.”
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Alta Pro created this Checklist to keep you safe and secure. NIST has identified four areas of emphasis for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022:
- Enabling multi-factor authentication
- Using strong passwords and a password manager
- Updating software
- Recognizing and reporting phishing
Alta Pro’s Cybersecurity Awareness Checklist series will take a deep dive into each of the above-mentioned focus areas.
Alta Pro Insurance Services keeps you informed on cutting-edge issues that affect your practice. Every week the Pro Practice Blog posts timely and topical dispatches from the risk management front lines. We spot looming risks – like the possibilities and potential perils of cryptocurrency – and give you advance warning. We identify promising trends – like Micro Self-Care, Cybersecurity Ethics, and the One-Page Business Plan – and give you the inside scoop. We bring you live CLE webinars on topics you request, most recently “Managing a Law Practice in Uncertain Times.” Please let us know how we can help your professional practice minimize risk and maximize reward. We’re here for you.
Cybersecurity Awareness Checklist, Part 2
The following is from the National Institute of Standards and Technology:
- Remember the 3 Guiding Principles of Passwords. Long, Unique and Complex
- How to use the 3 Principles. “Every one of your passwords should be at least 12 characters long. Each account needs to be protected with its own unique password. Never reuse passwords. This way, if one of your accounts is compromised, your other accounts remain secured. We’re talking really unique, not just changing one character or adding a 2 at the end – to really trick up hackers, none of your passwords should look alike. Each unique password should be a combination of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters (like >,!?). Again, remember each password should be at least 12 characters long. Some websites and apps will even let you include spaces.”
- Know when to change your passwords. “If your password is long, unique and complex, our recommendation is that you don’t need to ever change it unless you become aware that an unauthorized person is accessing that account, or the password was compromised in a data breach. This recommendation is backed up by the latest guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For many years, cybersecurity experts told us to change our passwords every few months. However, this constant change isn’t helpful if your passwords are each long, unique and complex. In fact, if you change your passwords often, you risk reusing old passwords or falling into bad habits of creating similar or weak passwords.”
- Don’t rely on your memory. “As our lives expand while we do more online, we’ve gone from having just a couple of passwords to today, where we might manage upwards of 100 or more. If you’re like most people, you’re probably using the same password for most of your accounts—and that’s not safe. If your one password gets stolen because of a breach, it can be used it to gain access to all your accounts and your sensitive information. But no need to fret, password managers are easy to use and make a big difference.”
- Use a password manager. “There are many free and easy-to-use [password manager] tools out today that make managing your library of unique passwords a snap. If you use the latest tools, you don’t need to rack your brain at every login screen. You just need to remember the one password that unlocks your password manager vault.”
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