Passwords are increasingly becoming easier to hack, meaning that companies must take new actions to protect themselves from cybercriminals.
"A lot of personal data is no longer private and consumers are finding it a lot harder to protect themselves when their data is out in the open," according to Limor Kessem, executive security advisor at IBM Security.
TechRepublic's Dan Patterson met with Kessem to discuss simple tips enterprises and consumers can use to improve their security.
1. Rethink your password
Passwords are still being used as a top authenticator, Kessem said, and they are becoming easier to hack quickly. Users should create longer passwords and use "nonsensical phrases" that make them harder to guess. These can be written in different ways, such as by using abbreviations.
Kessem also suggests using password managers to avoid duplicating passwords. "Although nothing is bulletproof...reducing the risk of reuse really outweighs the risk of password managers ever being breached," she said.
SEE:IT leader's guide to the threat of cyberwarfare (Tech Pro Research)
2. Rethink your security question
Criminals know that you will be asked security questions to authenticate your account, Kessem said, and they will try to find out that information using social media or other publicly available information. When you're setting up an account, choose a question that is personal to you such as "What is your favorite color?" or lie in your answer to the question. For example, rather than using your mother's maiden name as an answer, choose a unique name that you will remember, Kessem suggested.
3. Rethink your multi-factor authentication
Consumers and enterprises should also use more than one method of authentication. Use an extra SMS text, email, or automated phone call to verify the account. "It's always good to layer more controls in order to make sure that if the account is ever accessed by someone who is not authorized, that they would probably not have that extra factor," she said.
- Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec: Cybersecurity at work is everyone's responsibility (TechRepublic)
- 63% of SMBs increased security spending, but more than half still experienced breaches (TechRepublic)
- 10 tips for reducing insider security threats (TechRepublic)
- Online security 101: Tips for protecting your privacy from hackers and spies (ZDNet)
- IT leader's guide to reducing insider security threats (Tech Pro Research)
Leah Brown has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she cover.
Leah Brown is the Associate Social Media Editor for TechRepublic. She manages and develops social strategies for TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.