Breaches in online security seem to be an increasingly common fact of life and there is the potential that any of us could be affected, whether it is as a consequence of an easily guessed password or because a site we use has been hacked.
Earlier this week, VTech announced their Learning Lodge portal was re-opening following a hack last year when almost 6.4 million children’s details were exposed. The portal enables customers to download games, eBooks and other content for VTech devices. Since the cyber-attack in November 2015, VTech has focused on strengthening their security around user registration.
Last week, a security company called SplashData released a list of the millions of stolen passwords that were made public throughout the previous year. There are not many of the random alpha-numeric characters that should be used, instead easy to guess passwords such as ‘123456’ and ‘password’ are the most popular.
Most individuals are not in a position to prevent websites being hacked (unless you are involved in the world of online security). Therefore, we should do all we can to ensure the passwords we use are not easily guessed.
In the first instance, make sure you change default passwords which are often easily guessed or quickly Googled. When you do create a password, make it as complicated as is reasonably possible. This means using letters, numbers and special characters. There are many keys on your keyboard, so use lots of them!
Additionally, passwords should not be used on more than one website, so if there is a breach, such as with VTech, the hackers won’t then be able to gain access to other websites you use.
There is still much work to be carried out by technology companies to ensure the websites and IT equipment we all rely on is secure, but we can start by spending a few moments thinking of more sophisticated passwords, rather than using ‘123456’.