One of the scariest realizations people have in the world of Information Technology is the fact that there is a cyber war going on every day. We are consistently failing to realize the potential for disaster until we do come to understand what is happening through the networks we continuously visit and work with. A recent conversation with a colleague who works in Virginia shed more light on this ongoing war.
A phone call to his office at 6:00am, a frantic client- the client’s email had been hacked and 340 emails had been sent out, all spam. My colleague’s immediate response was to reset the network administrator’s password and the client’s password, but it was already too late. The network had been breached, the client, a CEO of a company, had requested administrative passwords for control over their network, had encouraged beefing up security standards, but had reserved the right to never change their password. Two million dollars’ worth of information was out the window.
The network itself was incredibly secure, everything was password protected, and passwords were not memorable or easy. They were instead randomized and at least 12 digits long. Examples of different types of passwords:
- Memorable: R3dandBlu3flag$
- Random: F!4e50alkeihg09*
- Easy (Don’t Ever Use): Apple1
The CEO’s password was actually a decent length, unfortunately however, they had not changed it in three years. The information that was stolen however, will take at least that long to rebuild through the company. Is it worth being so comfortable with your password that you cannot change what you are working on?
Every day businesses are consistently under attack as people from all over the world attempt to get into networks and steal money, information, or resources to adhere to their own agenda. War is no longer defined by land boundaries or climate; it is in our homes and our offices, even in our cars and cell phones. How we decide to conduct ourselves with our own information will be what sets us apart from those who will lose everything. We must become soldiers and fighters in this realm and make sure we are doing the right things to prevent loss. A few practices to observe:
1. Change your password every 60-90 days, and make sure it is completely different
2. Review your accounts to make sure there is nothing saved that you are unaware of
3. Mandate that employees are observing all security protocols
Finally, make sure you have a serious and proactive IT team to enforce and encourage these practices, checking for weaknesses in your network structure. As we move forward into the future, IT technicians play roles as police, firemen, and sometimes superheroes. Make sure you have the best leaders for your IT army; they will help you win the cyber war.
About Tier One Technology Partners: MKS&H’s technology consulting group, Tier One Technology Partners provides your growing organization with IT strategy and effective IT services solutions to keep you one step ahead. Tier One was founded in 2000 in the response to listening to the needs of our clients and the business challenges that they were facing in such a rapidly changing IT environment. Thus, Tier One was developed with the simple goal of being an IT consultant, partner, and support firm.