Top Passwords You Should Never Use

It is very important to keep your information safe because almost every year millions of people online complain about stolen data and security breaches.

You may want to seriously think about changing your passwords if it bears only your names and numbers like your birthday or social security numbers. If your password is easy to guess type that compromises your information especially if hackers get to crack or figure out what your password is.

To safeguard your information, it is important to create a strong password that is hard to guess but easy to remember.

Avoid using the same passwords across your online accounts because if someone got hold of your password, it can be used in accessing all your other accounts.

A study recently revealed that many people do not take the issue of creating strong passwords seriously and that is why hackers find it easy stealing information from different accounts online.

Once hackers get to know the most commonly used passwords, they will try to use this to try to access a number of accounts and then end up stealing information from all the accounts they manage to access.

If you are one of the people with dangerously weak passwords then we’d like to confidently tell you that your account is at a risk of a security breach from hackers.

Find below some of the worst and weakest passwords you should never use anywhere in your accounts.

 

  1. 12345

This password has been used for many years. Before the internet, this password combination was widely used especially as a locker number, a passcode for briefcase and in several other items.

Surprisingly, some people still use 12345 as a password these days for their bank accounts, email and online accounts. This is one of the many passwords you should avoid at all cost as it is very weak and anyone can guess and access your account.

  1. Passwords Without a symbol, number and Letters

A passwords should be created in such a way that it has letters, numbers and symbols. The stronger your password is the more secure it will be. If your password combination comprises numbers, letters and symbols, hackers will find it hard unlocking it to access your information. Come up with phrases and letters you can easily remember and combine that with some symbols to create a strong password.

  1. StrongPassword

Surprisingly some people still use ‘StrongPassword’ as their password in 2017. This password is as weak as 12345 and anyone out there can guess it easily and access your account.

Most sites will reject weak passwords and request you to use a strong password but that should not mean using ‘StrongPassword’. It’s better to take your time to create a password that is easy to remember but hard to guess instead of creating a password anyone can figure out what it is.

If coming up with a strong password is challenging, try using a password generator. There are many password generators you could use to ensure safety of your accounts.

  1. Your Name

This is listed by my internet security companies as one of the worst passwords ever. Anyone serious about accessing your information can easily find out what your names are and use that to access your account. This type of password falls in the same class with 12345, password, StrongPassword and many more.

Let’s say for instance your kid or someone else wants to access your account and uses your name as a password. You definitely know what that means. You should also avoid using street names, your birthday, kid’s names and your pets’ names as your passwords.

  1. Website Name

Avoid creating a weak password with the name of the website and combining it with some numbers thinking that it is strong enough to prevent people accessing your information.

A password with a website name is as easy to guess as 12345.

To ensure the safety of our accounts and information, it is important to create strong passwords that cannot be figured out easily by people who would want access our information from different accounts including our email addresses.

Internet security begins with you as an individual. It depends on the steps you take to ensure that people cannot access your information without your permission. The first thing to do to ensure that you are the only one accessing your account is to create a strong password.

Most famous and dangerous computer viruses of all time

Innocent devices sometimes fall victim of some of the most dangerous computer viruses. These computer viruses are capable of disrupting a computer’s system and wiping out all information contained on the hard disk.

Computer viruses have affected different computer users in different ways one of them being wiping out all information from the hard disk hence leading to loss of information.

If you have never had your computer suffer from a malware attack, then consider yourself very lucky because different computer users have encountered malware attacks in different fashions and styles.

In this article, we are about to discuss some of the most famous and dangerous computer viruses of all time. Some of the viruses as we shall see led to serious damages in real life.

Here is a list of some of the most famous and dangerous computer viruses of all time.

  1. ILOVEYOU

Considering the damages this computer virus caused after being released by its creator, we can comfortably state that it is one of the most destructive and dangerous computer virus ever.

When ILOVEYOU got released, it is believed that it affected over 10% of computers that were connected to the internet worldwide.

It even forced big corporations and some governments to start using offline mailing systems to avoid being attacked. The damages that this virus managed to cause worldwide is estimated at $10 billion.

The creators of this malware, Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman used a very simple strategy to spread the virus by luring computer users to click on ‘a love confession’ attachment. The virus was designed in such a way that once a user clicked on the attachment, the virus automatically sent itself to everyone on the mailing list of the user. What it did after that was overwriting itself to files and rendering every affected computer unbootable.

The creators of this malware were not brought to book because by the time this computer malware was damaging computers worldwide, there were no malware laws.

This then led governments to come up with laws that could be used to prosecute creators of such viruses.

 

 

  1. CODE RED

This virus started damaging computers in 2001 when its creators decided to take advantage of a flaw in Microsoft Internet Information Servers. This virus was discovered for the first time by two employees at eEye Digital Security.

The name Code Red was given to the virus because by the time the two discovered the virus, they were having a Code Red Mountain Dew drink.

The creators of this malware targeted computers that had Microsoft IIS server. This malware could not be traced easily as it leaves no signs and can survive on the memory at a very small size of 3,569 bytes.

Immediately it infects a computer, it then goes on to multiply itself several times to an extent where it clears everything in the entire computer system including computers that are in the same network.

After affecting computers that are in a network, it then leads to a denial of service attack on different IP addresses.

One of Code Red’s victims was White House as this virus affected its website. After affecting servers and different computers, it left a message ‘Hacked by Chinese’.

An estimate of losses caused by this malware stood at $2 billion worldwide. The number of servers that got affected by this malware stood at between 1-2 million servers around the world.

  1. MELISSA

This malware was created by David L. Smith in 1999. It got the name ‘Melissa’ a stripper based in Florida.

It started its damage inform of a word Doc which was posted online and the people behind it claimed that it had pornographic sites’ passwords.

People became curious about the word Doc and once it opens after downloading it, it automatically send itself to about 50 people.

What resulted was a serious traffic on email services including those belonging to different governments.

Documents on computers with this virus were also not spared because they got corrupted.

Smith was later arrested and gave information to about other hackers like him to FBI.

Melissa led to about $80 million damages in different corporations and governments around the world.

  1. SASSER

The main victim of this malware was Windows Operating System. It started in 2004 and affected different corporations around the world.

Unlike other viruses like Melissa and Code Red, it never spread through emailing services. It spread by looking for systems that were vulnerable after it affected a computer and gave instructions to those systems to initiate download of the malware.

This virus succeeded because it used a simple strategy of finding possible victims by scanning different IP addresses.

To make matters worse for the victims, it went to an extent of corrupting the Operating Systems by complicating resetting without switching off the power.

Some of the institutions that got affected by this malware included transport industry, hospitals, media, airlines and many companies.

  1. MY DOOM

This virus is also one of the most dangerous viruses ever. What else would you expect with this type of name if not doom?

It is in the same class as ILOVEYOU virus considering the level of damages it caused around the world.

It is one of the fastest-spreading email malware ever after ILOVEYOU. Some the big corporations this malware managed to hit include Google, SCO and Microsoft. What it did was a denial of service attack.

This virus was released to SCO servers with an aim of crashing their website by causing traffic. This malware also sent spam messages from computers it infected. The message it sent to people inform of spam was ‘andy; I’m just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry.’

In 2004 alone, this malware managed to attack about 25% of all emails around the world. The damages caused by this malware was estimated at $38 billion.

These are the top five most famous and dangerous computer viruses ever. These viruses attacked different corporations and governments bringing their services to a halt and leading to a crush of some websites.

 

Top Tips on how to prevent your computer from Viruses

You may have had to deal with a computer virus at some stage. It is always annoying when you find out that your computer has been infected by a virus and is behaving in a funny way especially when you can access important files.

It is always time consuming and frustrating at the same time when a computer gets a virus or malware. Computer malware always slows down a computer and makes it to behave in unusual manner that slows down everything including browsers and opening files.

Use the following tips to prevent your computer from malware attack.

  1. Install Anti-Virus Software

The best way to prevent your computer from viruses is by installing Anti-virus software. There are many Anti-Virus software some of them are free while others are not free. To keep your computer safe, then you must install Anti-Virus software whether it is a home computer or a computer at your place of work.

You actually don’t have to pay for anti-virus software to keep your computer safe. There are some free anti-virus softwares that have been confirmed to work. For instance Avast is one excellent free antivirus you can use to keep your computer safe.

  1. Update your Anti-Virus regularly

Without updating your Anti-virus software regularly, your computer might get attacked easily. It is always important to perform regular database and signature updates of your Anti-virus to ensure that your computer is protected against viruses.

The popularity of social media sites has led to spread of malware which therefore means that as we continue using these social sites, we put our computers at risks of being attacked by viruses anytime especially if we don’t update our Anti-virus software.

To prevent fast moving malware from attacking our PCs, it is advisable to ensure that our Anti-virus software is updated.

  1. Avoid clicking on links found on strange emails

One way our computers get infected by viruses is through clicking on links we do not comprehend the sender. Some links sent to our emails are just traps to make us click on them and what results after that is a serious malware attack.

The best rule of thumb here would therefore be to avoid clicking on links we do not trust the sender on our emails.

According to a report by Microsoft, about 44.8% of malware attacks to PCs are because users clicked on a link either on their email or untrusted sites.

  1. Use your Anti-virus to perform regular scans.

Many people usually ignore performing regular scans. This is the reason why some PCs end up being slow and annoying. Microsoft advices PCs users to set their Anti-Virus softwares to scan their computers regularly.

The best interval to perform a computer scan is after every seven weeks and this should be done regularly.  Another important thing is to do the scan when you are not using your computer. This can be done at night or when your computer is not under use.

The computer should be left running if it is being scanned and the user should be able to prevent it from hibernating when scanning.

  1. Disable Autorun

A number of malwares in most cases attach themselves to a disk drive automatically and later install themselves on other media that is attached to the system.

This is how external hard disks end up with the virus and later transfer it to other PCs.

To prevent malware propagation, Microsoft advices PC users to disable autorun feature in Windows. This process differs from one operating system to the other so it is important to know your operating system.

You should also ensure that your operating system is updated. Operating system developers normally release their products with certain security patches to prevent PCs from malware attacks. So it is important to regularly update your Operating system to the latest version.

  1. Avoid using free or Public Wi-Fi spots

Normally if you use a free and open Wi-Fi which has not been encrypted, the possibility of getting a malware attack on your computer is real. If you don’t believe it, this is how it happens. If an infected computer uses the same network other computers are connected to, the malware normally tries to find its way to devices connected to the same free Wi-Fi. In most cases, this malware will find its way into other computers and end up corrupting files in those computers.

Some people also take advantage of the free Wi-Fi to launch attacks to other computers connected to the same network. So the best way to stay safe is to avoid connecting to a free Wi-Fi.

  1. Back up your computer

Backing up your files is the most secure way to keep your private information safe. The contents in your computer can get affected especially if you don’t have anti-virus software installed.

To avoid losing important information, it is advisable to keep your information in separate places maybe, on an external hard drive and at your place of work or at home.

  1. Use a strong password for your accounts

Many people don’t understand the meaning of a complex password. According to SplashData, a password security company, a strong password should have a mixture of letters, symbols and numbers.

It is also not advisable to use the same password in multiple accounts. If someone discovers your email address and password and it happens that it is the same password you use across your accounts, then it will take just a second to access all your information.

It easy to prevent loss of data and attacks by malware these days than before. With a number of free anti-virus software, protecting your computer from virus is in your hands. If you fear losing your sensitive information, the best thing to do is to back up your information in different places. Regular scanning of your computer is also something to take seriously if you need to keep your computer safe and free from malware attack.

 

 

How To Create A Strong Password

Almost every account created online requires users to create strong passwords. To come up with a password that people cannot easily figure out requires some tricks and knowledge.

Hackers these days take advantage of weak passwords to get into accounts before sharing the information they get with the public or blackmailing institutions and individuals.

When creating passwords online, some sites will inform you whether your password is strong enough or not while some sites fail to inform you about this.

The secret to a strong password is to include both letters, numbers and symbols in your password. A long password with symbols, letters and numbers is safe and cannot be figured out easily by someone else.

While it is not safe to use the same password across all your accounts, it is also advisable to ensure that whatever password you create, it should have letters, symbols and numbers. It should as well have at-least 12 characters.

If you use the same email address across your online accounts, you should ensure that your passwords are different, easy to remember and strong enough.

The moment you create a strong and long passwords, it makes it completely hard for hackers to crack it.

What hackers normally do when cracking passwords online, they go for easy targets. The easy targets are those accounts with weak passwords that will not take a lot of time figuring out or cracking.

For instance, you should avoid creating a password which bears your names and birthdates or names of your family members.

When creating a password, the more you include symbols, numbers and letters, the more it becomes strong and makes it challenging for anyone who would want to crack it.

THE SECRET

When creating a password, stick to a password that will be hard to guess but easy to remember.

If there is a phrase that looks odd but makes sense to you then add some number(s) and symbols you can easily remember next time you log in to your account.

Use phrases that you can easily associate to some websites and add numbers and symbols that you can remember. If you have different online accounts but want to use different passwords for these sites, you can have passwords that have common elements but some letters customized to specific sites where you have an account.

Another thing to note when creating a password is to avoid coming up with a random password that you’ll not be able to remember next time you want to log in.

If you have to create a random password then it should be a password with phrases that have a meaning to you.

 Creating strong passwords.

There are different methods of creating a strong password.

Bruce Schneier’s Method

Bruce is a security expert who came up with a password creation method that ensures creation of a strong password that cannot be figured out easily but also easy to remember.

His method is easy as he recommends taking a sentence that makes sense and turning it into a password.

According to Bruce, the sentence one transforms into a password should be a phrase easy to remember or memorable. After coming up with a phrase, abbreviate it and combine it with numbers and symbols uniquely. Here is an example of a Bruce Schneier’s password:

WOO!RBwontAC = Woohoo! Red Bulls won the Association Cup

The secret is to choose a phrase you can easily remember and turn into your password by abbreviating and inserting symbols.

The other methods of creating a strong password include, Phonetic Muscle Memory, PAO Method and Electrum Method.

These methods involve different strategies you can use to create a password that can be easy to remember but hard to guess.

Instead of waiting for that nasty time when some hacker somewhere cracks your weak password it is better to take your time now and come up with a memorable phrase, add some symbols and numbers to have a strong password.

Don’t wait for your password to be hacked and your information shared to the public instead of using the strategies discussed here on how to create strong passwords that are hard to guess but easy to remember.

 

Can Government Protect Your Internet Privacy?

You are not the only one worried and concerned about your internet privacy. Many people are concerned about whether the government is doing enough to protect their internet privacy.

A number of security breaches witnessed in government wings and several other corporations for the past one year are enough to scare individuals and question whether governments are doing enough to guarantee internet privacy.

Last month, there was a publication of a cache of confidential documents from the CIA and Wikileaks published them specifically to reveal CIA’s role in surveillance of people’s information online.

According to Wikileaks, CIA has ways and methods it uses in finding its way and hacking devices which are connected. Wikileaks also revealed that CIA has a way in which they compromise operating systems of devices including those of smartphones without informing the manufacturers about the loopholes.

This made some individuals and organization to ask for a response from the US governments. A director at Web Foundation (WF) went ahead to question whether the US government is doing enough to safeguard digital security and privacy of its citizens. According to Craig Fagan, a director at Web Foundation, the government puts users of the smartphones and devices at a risk of attacks from hackers by failing to inform the manufacturers of such devices about vulnerabilities and flaws in their devices.

A recent study found out that 60% of the people who were interviewed in the study have had their concern about internet privacy increase for the last one year.

More and more people are now worried and concerned about their privacy in the internet including their financial information.

The study revealed that a number of governments are not doing enough to ensure internet privacy of both their data and information of their citizens. This is what worries their citizens.

The fact that governments cannot protect themselves against hackers and leaking of sensitive information is enough to worry people about their personal information. If the government itself is not capable of safeguarding its own information what do you think can happen to vulnerable citizens who rely on the government and companies to keep their information safe and private?

It is not the first time studies revealed how people are complaining about current data privacy laws in a number of governments. According to many people measure taken by governments are not strong enough to protect internet users.

Many of those who were interviewed by one of the most famous data security company around the world revealed that the highest percentage of those interviewed are worried about their internet privacy and that their governments are not doing enough to ensure their protection.

About 20% of those who were interviewed by the security company have encountered their social media or email account hacked. Close to 20% of the interviewees also responded by saying that they may have encountered stolen information from credit cards by hackers.

So what is the role of the government in protecting people’s internet privacy?

Governments have a role to play when it comes to protecting its citizens’ internet privacy. For instance, governments should come up with strategies to on how the public should be educated on how to protect themselves against attacks online.

The other thing governments should do is to protect its infrastructure by coming up with laws that would require companies to disclose any potential security threats that it faces or its employees face. The same governments should also be good example by coming up with good security practices and clear process required to access personal information of their citizens.

The government should come up with regulations on how to protect people online but this should be done moderately in order to avoid serious consequences. Governments should avoid ignoring strategies they ought to come up with to protect people’s internet privacy.

The fact here remains that governments actually have a role to play in protecting people against internet security breaches but individuals also have to role to play too. For instance, see below how an individual can avoid internet security breach.

  • Creating strong password that are hard to guess but easy to remember
  • Avoid clicking on links that are sent by people you do not know especially on email
  • Avoid publicizing your donations to political outfits
  • Don’t fail to shred paper documents that have important information
  • Avoid being spotted in situations that are compromising
  • Failing to password protect your computers and other devices

As far as people continuously blame governments for failing to protect their internet privacy, individuals should comprehend that they also have a role to play to ensure that their online information remains safe.

In order to win back the trust of many online users, governments need to increase their internet mass surveillance investment. Technology moves very fast and that is the reason why governments need to come up with new strategies that are capable of curbing internet security breaches.

A number of business and individuals have started questioning the capability of their governments in protecting their internet privacy because it happens governments cannot protect themselves from online security breaches.

Global development largely relies on online economy. When people and businesses across the world start losing confidence and trust in the internet, the global economy is likely to suffer.

Instead of governments rushing to pass bills into laws expecting to curb online security breaches, they should first comprehend the fact that technology is advancing so fast and should instead come up with technically strong strategies that will outpace the rate at which technology is advancing.

According to Web Foundation, government should be able to come up with steps that will protect citizens online and also against overreach by security agencies. Apart from this, Web Foundation also urges companies to take actions and pressure governments to ensure that the necessary reforms are made. The companies should as well invest in safeguarding user’s information and coming up with a strategy on how to encrypt shared date from one device to the other automatically.

 

 

Unsecured Wi-Fi Hotspots: Why you should not connect

These days you can use your smartphone or tablet on the go with the freedom of using public or free Wi-Fi as many call it. However, it is very important to be cautious when using a free Wi-Fi Hotspot or avoid reconnecting completely due to the risks this comes with.

If you are this kind of a person who must always use free or public hotspot, you’ll definitely start taking necessary precautions after reading this article.

So here are the reasons why you should never connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot.

  1. It is never safe

“Piggybacking” or connecting to a free Wi-Fi that does not require you to enter a WPA or WPA2 is the same as basically sharing your information with the public. This is what happens, if you connect to a free Wi-Fi and send any sensitive data over it, any person can grab your information and use it. So you should comprehend that the same thing that makes a public Wi-Fi Hot spot desirable to you also makes it desirable for people who can hack your device and use your sensitive information.

  1. Infection Risk

When using a free Wi-Fi hotspot also being used by an infected device, the malware in the device will try to use the network and penetrate to other devices also connected to the free Wi-Fi.

To avoid being attacked by the malware from a device connected to the same Wi-Fi your device is connected to, you should upgrade the antivirus software you use. You should ensure that your firewall is strong, up and running.

  1. Capture of Account Details/Logins

Let’s all face it, a number of applications on your device will try to send a number of your account details including passwords and usernames inform of clear text over a network. This therefore means any user trying to sniff their way into the network may get your usernames and passwords in plain text. You probably know what this means. If a stranger gets your account logins, they can use and access your account at any time.

  1. Be careful about “Honeypots”

“Honeypots” are basically fake free Wi-Fi Hotspots that are set up to attract different users to connect. What results after connecting to such Wi-Fi spots is stealing of information from your device. If you have to connect to a free Wi-Fi hotspot then you must first be sure that it is not fake. Don’t put yourself at a risk of having your information shared.

Try as much as possible only connect to trusted Wi-Fi hotspots. You should also ensure that you only use the latest anti-virus protection.

  1. Privacy

Anyone can use public or free Wi-Fi Hotspots. So whenever you are connected you should be aware of this. The cyberspace has all kinds of users and you never know who you are sharing the free Wi-Fi hotspot with.

If you get connected to a free Wi-Fi hotspot you put your information at a risk of being shared. Hackers usually take advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots to attack those who are connected.

The reality here is therefore to avoid free Wi-Fi hotspots as much as possible so as to stay on the safe side. You never know when hackers will come calling on a network you are connected to.