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Keeping Your Computing Environment Secure

I am sure you have heard about all the hacking activities going on in the Internet, some even targeting organizations that you would think would have their systems so tightly secured that no one would even think of trying to compromise.

None of us are immune to these hacking attacks.  As small business owners, you might think that no one would be interested in breaking in to your computing system.

You may ask…”Why me?”

Let me tell you that it is not that the hackers are actually targeting you.  To them, your computing system is just one of the myriads of devices out on the Internet. They use computer software that programmatically checks out different Internet addresses to see if there is any vulnerability.  If they see one that responds, the software will try to log in, systematically using a list of commonly used passwords and words or word-combinations from the dictionary.

Many of you have very functional server systems that include remote access capabilities, giving you the ability to remotely work from home or when you are travelling.  Guess what, the hackers use these remote access portals to try to hack in.

Are you alarmed yet?  If not, you should be.  These remote access portals are used by many companies around the world, and are designed to allow secure access for an increasingly offsite workforce.  However, they are only as secure as the weakest link – most often, an insecure or simple password.

So my question is – is your organization still using the default password that was assigned for your users during the initial implementation of your server system?

That password was not meant to be kept around beyond the initial implementation period.  If you are still using that password, or a simple variation of it, I strongly urge you to take immediate steps to change the password to something complicated.

Creating a “strong” password

For example, you could use the first letters of a favorite phrase like “Trust in the LORD with all your heart”.  The password would then be TitLwayh. Now because it would be easy to remember your favorite phrase, you would have no problem remembering the complicated password, but a hacker would have a hard time figuring it out.  To make the password even stronger, substitute the letter “i” with a number “1”, the letter “o” with the number “0”,  and the letter “a” for the character @, which will make the resultant password T1tLw@yh.

How to change your password now

To change your password, while you are already logged on, press Ctrl-Alt-Del and click [Change Password].  Don’t forget to ask all the others in the company to do the same.

If you so desire, you can expire the password of all your users, forcing them to change it at the next login.

Do not wait until your computing system has been compromised before “closing the barn door”. Do it NOW!

By the way, “closing the barn door” once a server and network has been compromised could get pretty expensive, and could be very disruptive to your business.

We value your business. We trust you value our advice.

Posted in: Business, IT Support, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Technology

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