Our media and communications director, Katie, called in to our local BBB office and was greeted by a foreign tongue on our welcoming recording. She thought perhaps she was losing her mind. Not so.
Katie contacted our IT person Jane. She discovered our phone system and other Mitel systems had come under attack. In other words someone had hacked into our system and had fun by changing the answering message. Of course, Jane went to work and changed passwords.
This scenario is a nice reminder to think about your passwords. Microsoft Safety and Security Center has some excellent tips for creating safe passwords.
- Start with using 8 or more characters.
- Use a variety of characters, such as punctuation, letter, symbols and numbers.
- Change your passwords every 3 months. My guess is most of us have never changed our passwords. It is hard enough to remember the ones we presently have.
- Don’t use the same password. Don’t even think about it. Have various passwords.
Microsoft has some tips for passwords to avoid.
- Don’t spell backwards for a password.
- Using sequences and repeating characters is a gift to hackers.
- Likewise, using personal information, such as your birthday, makes life easy for hackers.
If you are like me, taking the time to change all my passwords and creating safe ones is not a project that sounds entertaining. Nevertheless, it is necessary. Put it on your priority to do list.