I co-presented the other day with a Senior VP of Fidelity Funds. He gave an excellent presentation on the economy and how we can watch for recovery signs such as a decrease in unemployment rates, a rise in manufacturing in the United States and other key factors. My portion of the presentation focused on the Cloud and Mobile.
During my presentation, I discussed how so many people make it easy for hackers (and the automated processes they use) to easily crack our passwords, locate us and view our data. Let me explain…
How many of us are guilty of using weak passwords like our child’s name, our dog’s name or other easily remembered passwords?
How many of us use the same password for many different logins to many different sites and services?
How many of us are guilty of not thinking through or not understanding the prompts on our mobile devices for location services and Cloud services?
An 8 character password that uses all lower case letters can be cracked in about 2 days using a standard computer. (Adding a capital letter and a special character changes this from 2 days to 2 centuries!)
With location services, certain apps use the GPS functionality of your mobile device to feed back your location information to their servers.
Cloud services are constantly pushing your data to Cloud servers that are ‘secured’ with, you guessed it, your weak passwords.
There is most likely a ton of information being published from your mobile devices about you that you might not be aware of and might not want other people to have. The same goes for your employees.
Is your calendar in the Cloud, pictures of your kids, your home phone number, your spouses’ information, your business partners information, or worse yet, your password list? The Cloud is so convenient, most people don’t even think about the security.
I attended a presentation the other day given by the FBI. The FBI agent presenting confirmed that these are the exact mechanisms by which identities are being stolen and how people are being attacked online.
The Bottom Line…
Take a few minutes out to add special characters, numbers and capital letters to your passwords. Change your passwords on your banking, Cloud services and other sensitive sites to separate passwords. Review your mobile device (don’t forget your tablet) and turn off location and Cloud services for everything that doesn’t need it. Going forward, think about the prompts that come up on your phone before answering them.
Taking a little time out to do this will help protect you, your loved ones, your business and your data.
Here’s to a prosperous and safe 2013 for all of you!!