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Cybercriminals have shifted to targeting small and medium-sized enterprises because these businesses have fewer resources for protecting their IT networks from security breaches. Fortunately, one of the most effective and affordable methods of protection is available. At little or no cost, every company can create and use very strong passwords for their employees to help protect sensitive data.

Three Typical Types of Attacks

1. Brute Force
2. Dictionary Attack
3. Social Engineering
Brute Force – Cybercriminals use software that generates countless combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters. However, it may consume a lot of time and effort because strong passwords that are long and random are much more difficult to crack.
Dictionary Attack – It is a program that utilizes a database stocked with common words, names, and alphanumeric combinations. For example, simple passwords such as “password” or “123abc” will be very easy to crack.
Social Engineering – The cybercriminal uses a fake, but legitimate appearing, persona in a social engineering attack. The hacker may pose as someone that appears familiar to victims to fool them into willingly divulging user names and passwords.

Steps to Take

Select passwords that are easy to recall, but difficult to guess. Use passwords that are a minimum of eight characters long. Very strong passwords are case sensitive and contain a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols. A password can even be stronger if numbers are used to replace letters and vice versa. Example: “1” for “L”.
Below are things that should be avoided when creating passwords:
• Birthdays, names of family members, and Social Security numbers
• Passwords that contain only numbers or letters
• The password is identical to the login
• Dictionary words, even those from a foreign language
• Repeating numbers or letters
• Using the same password for different sites
Below are the three main things to do to enhance password security:
1. Adhere to the company’s Change Login and Password procedures.
2. Use password generator and management software.
3. Train employees regarding social engineering attacks.
Alpha Engineering Business Support
Choosing an expert computer technology-support provider is an important decision for your business. Alpha Engineering Associates has been a trusted partner of many companies in the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis areas since 1990. For affordable client-focused network consulting services and solutions, please call Alpha Engineering Associates today at (410) 295-9500.

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