The internet is a fantastic tool and there is no limit to the things we can learn from it. We can communicate quickly and efficiently with friends and relatives anywhere in the world, and we can use it to make practically any task easier. However, nothing this good comes without a catch and the internet can be very dangerous. It’s important that people take care to keep their personal details private, and one of the best, though often overlooked ways of doing this is to use passwords.
Anybody who uses the internet is vulnerable to online threats, whether they’re at home, at school or work, or on the go using a mobile or other portable device. Online shopping, banking and business transactions are all activities which will be targeted by cyber criminals. Hackers are surprisingly skilful at guessing people’s passwords, and this can give them access to all your personal information. Hackers sometimes use computer systems to crack your password instead, which can be even more effective.
There are different types of attacks. A “dictionary attack” is where names and words are chosen and tried, then combinations of words, lists, famous sayings, birthdays and more until a passwords is finally accepted. Attacks can also happen when a Trojan horse or virus is installed on your computer. The software will learn the keystrokes you make when entering your passwords.
A firewall or anti-virus system will prevent this from happening, so that your personal details cannot be stolen. There are a range of McAfee® products which will protect you from hacker attacks.
How can you protect your password?
- Make it a minimum of 8 characters long.
- Use both lower case and upper case letters.
- Include punctuation, numbers and special characters.
- Do not include personal information such as names and dates.
- Don’t use obvious words which can e found in the dictionary – try purposely misspelling words.
- Change your password on a regular basis.
- Do not share your password with anyone.