Bret Ellis - Vice President for Information Technology
Password Protection Awareness
MESSAGE FROM THE VP OF IT
Recent information security disasters have been in the news and they point back to some fundamental practices that need to be observed and brought to our attention again; have a strong unique password for each of your on-line accounts and make backups of your important, irreplaceable data, and keep it disconnected from your computer.
In October, approximately 150 million Adobe user usernames and passwords were exposed to hackers. To add to the travesty of this poorly protected cache of usernames, passwords and password hints is the fact that many users used the same password for many, if not all of their other on-line accounts.
Facebook used its formidable influence to take user accounts off-line when their username and password matched those of the exposed Adobe credentials, until unique passwords were created.
Here are some solutions:
- Don't use the same password for multiple sites,
- Use long and strong passwords, check potential passwords with a tool found at blog.kaspersky.com/password-check
- Finally, consider using a password manager, which stores and helps create strong passwords for your online accounts.
Another, more insidious twist to an age-old practice of ransom is the current on-line ransomware called CryptoLocker.
Once a user opens a booby-trapped email attachment or visits a web site with a browser that is outdated, the nasty software is downloaded to the computer. Over the period of a few days all of the users data files; documents, music, movies, pictures, etc., are encrypted with a key unknown to them and thus not accessible to user. A screen appears on their computer indicating that they have 72 hours to pay the ransom, in bitcoin, in order to get the key to unencrypt their files.
Never open e-mails and/or attachments that are unfamiliar to you. Keep backups of your important information so you can restore your data, and not pay the ransom.
More information about these issues and others can be found at weberstateitsnews.blogspot.com/p/information-security-office.html
Dr. Bret Ellis