NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The National Cyber Security Alliance is touring the country, trying to get you to be safer with your online information, starting with your passwords.
“‘Password’ and ‘123456’ are still the most common passwords,” said Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “They should be long, they should be strong and most importantly they should be different for your key accounts.”
Experts suggest a different password for work email, personal email, and your social network accounts. What the Alliance really wants you to do, however, is go a step beyond simple passwords and do step two. Their campaign is actually called “Two Steps Ahead.” They’re talking about two step authentication.
We all know step 1 is to log in and type in your password. Step 2 is when your email, social networking site, or online retailer texts a code to your cell phone. You type that code into the website to log in. You can set it up so that it only happens when you log in from a new computer, or every time you log in, depending on how secure you want to be.
“If you look at the recent breaches that we’ve had, whether it was the big retail breaches or some of these other vulnerabilities, passwords, which is the lock on everybody’s account door, have been stolen,” Kaiser said. “So you need something more than a password.”
If you want to be really freaked out about security, there are researchers at UConn specializing in hardware security.
“A lot times when you’re trying to obtain chips to put into your PC or even your toaster, or phone or whatever,” said Prof. John Chandy of the University of Connecticut. “You don’t know where they came from, so you don’t know if they’re counterfeit.”
In other words, the bad guys could be inside your computer already and you don’t even know it.