It’s simple. Make sure that your passwords are strong and unique.

Don’t use your birth date, phone number, social security number, family members name or your pet’s name – these can be easily guessed by a cyber crook usually just by looking over your social profiles.

It’s also important that you don’t reuse passwords between your accounts or change them too often. A good password should last a year. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, frequent updates to passwords often result in “password1”, “password2” patterns and these are easy to uncover.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon in our current culture to face major security breaches on our favorite platforms, such as the recent ones that involved LinkedIn, MySpace and Tumblr, where hundreds of accounts details went for sale on the dark web. Think about it. If you used the same pass everywhere, attackers would be able to quickly access all of your other accounts quickly (and they know it).

The bottom-line is that breaches are on the rise year over year and according to Netherlands-based security firm Gemalto, more than 2.6 billion records were breached in 2017, which breaks down to:

  • 7.1 million lost records every day
  • 300,000 every hour
  • 5,000 every minute
  • 82 every second

To put that in perspective, there were “only” 1.6 billion records lost or stolen in 2016 — in other words, there’s been a 163% increase in breached records. These numbers could be even higher, but nearly 60% of the total breaches include an unknown or unreported number of compromised records (similar to the Yahoo breach, which was reported as a larger breach over time – now listed at 3 billion-plus records).

Prioritizing breach-prevention tools and policies is extremely critical for small businesses. Hackers know small businesses have less resources to counter their efforts (whether it be shortage of staff or budget), and have targeted them at an alarming and increasing rate each year, according to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report.

What’s more alarming than that? Almost 90% of small business owners don’t feel like they’re at risk of experiencing a breach.

Password Statistics

According to Statista.com, 22% of respondents stated that they used different passwords for every online login.

Password management company Keeper Security released a list of the most common passwords of 2017 and the most common password, making up nearly 17% of the 10 million passwords the company analyzed, was “123456.”

See their reported top 25 passwords below:

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Keeping Your Passwords Safe

After you determine your password for various platforms, avoid writing them down at all costs.  This includes creating an Excel spreadsheet or an office document for your team to share.

Instead, start using a password manager, such as LastPass. It will remember all of your passwords and store them in a secure way. This way, you’ll only have to remember one master password, the one for your main LastPass account.

In addition, avoid using the “REMEMBER PASSWORD” option on websites. With the convenience of being remembered by your favorite platforms comes the ability for crooks to effortlessly cruise right into your cyber world.

Don’t become a statistic this year and help keep your employees safe as well.