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Jamestown IT specialist says cyber security begins with user

In Dayton Ohio News, Technology, Uncategorized on March 27, 2015 at 2:41 pm
Photo_041109_003_GLD

Password protection is your first, best defense against cyber attack.

Jamestown, OH – According to Gery L. Deer of GLD Enterprises Communications in Jamestown, individual users must be more proactive to better protect personal, financial and business information from prying eyes, identity theft and asset loss. Apart from expensive security software, Deer suggested that the most effective defense may be, quite simply, better password management.

People of all ages now manage everything online from personal photos to bank records and, with all of that convenience, comes a certain level of risk. Statistics compiled by the Identity Theft Resource Center indicate there have been approximately 174 major data breaches in the first quarter of 2015, exposing more than 99 million records. (Report – http://www.idtheftcenter.org/images/breach/ITRCBreachStatsReport2015.pdf)

“It might come as a surprise to most cyber surfers that the individual user may actually hold the most powerful weapon in the war against hackers,” said Deer, who has worked in data management and IT since the mid-1990s.

“No matter what you’re doing on your computer or mobile devices, setting a secure password and changing it regularly will help keep things locked down,” Deer said. “Best of all, this single, most important preventative measure costs nothing.” He offers these beginning tips to help create highly secure passwords.

“First, consider the length of the password. Most websites and applications require an 8-character password with a maximum length of 16,” Deer suggests. “Password length is generally restricted to 8 or 16 characters, but the longer the password, the more secure it is.”

“We generally recommend that passwords contain at least 2 capital letters, 2 numbers and 1 non-alphanumeric characters or symbol (: #,+,(,*, etc.),” continued Deer. “Some programs and websites may not allow certain symbols, but most do, so it’s worth a try. For example, a password like, ‘Johns House’ could look like, Gon2+Hwz, and it would be very secure and tough to break.”

One of the most common mistakes is to use a password that creates a complete word, name, anagram or acronym. “No matter how innocuous it may seem,” Deer said, “passwords containing complete words, even spelled backwards, can be hacked by even the most basic password breaker.

In addition, Deer insists that passwords should be changed regularly, at a minimum of six month intervals, but the more often the better. “New passwords should never be too similar to the previous ones and it’s important never to use the same password for every account.”

As always, Deer recommended using caution when opening email from unknown sources and always sign out of accounts and turn the computer off when not in use, particularly when traveling with a laptop.

“When in doubt, disconnect the connection to the Internet,” Deer said. “Turn off the modem, router or wireless link. When the computer is off, there is no way of accessing the hard drive or connected networks.” For more information on securing personal accounts, contact GLD Enterprises Communications, online at gldenterprises.net or call 937-902-4857.

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