Business Sense: Change Your Passwords and Other Internet Security Advice
It was just two years ago when a far-reaching security vulnerability known as Heartbleed was discovered to affect about two-thirds of all online computer systems. Heartbleed was found to be a simple error in a few lines of code in OpenSSL, an encryption technology used by a wide range of businesses, including online retailers and major financial institutions. The error made it possible for cybercriminals to snoop through the memory banks of affected computers and steal personal information of businesses and their customers.
While the Heartbleed bug was simple to fix, it highlights the fact that computer coders are not perfect, and mistakes do happen. Some of these mistakes have yet to be found, and we can only hope that the good guys get to them before they can be maliciously exploited. This may not always be the case, so it is up to each individual and business to ensure that they are following the best practices when it comes to Internet security.
Following are a few tips to keep your online information safe from intruders:
- Keep your software updated. So many businesses are running outdated software that is no longer supported by the developer, and the longer it is used, the more time hackers have to find vulnerabilities that will never be fixed. For example, if you still run Windows XP rather than Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10, then you open yourself to attacks because this ancient software is no longer being updated by Microsoft, which means any security vulnerabilities that have been found since support was discontinued will remain in place forever.
- Change your passwords. Keeping your data secure is often as simple as using a secure password. Passwords should contain a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and even symbols to make them difficult to crack. In addition, you never want to use the same password for every website or application you use. Have different passwords in place and change them at regular intervals.
- Use a password manager. Memorizing all of your passwords can be a daunting, if not impossible, task. Fortunately, you can use an application known as a password manager to keep all of your passwords safely stored in an encrypted file that only you can read. Several password managers are available today, and a few of the most reliable include LastPass, PassPack and 1Password.
Read more of this article by Patrick Foley of Moraware: Lessons from Heartbleed – time to change your passwords!