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Multi-Factor Authentication

Password resets every 90 days have been an essential part of cybersecurity and compliance routines for decades. But now, expired passwords will become less frequent thanks to modern cybersecurity practices such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), which you should take advantage of whenever it is made available to you.

When you sign into your online accounts, a process called “authentication”, you’re proving to the service that you are who you say you are. Traditionally, that’s been done with a username and a password. Unfortunately, that’s not a very good way to do it. Usernames are often easy to discover; sometimes they’re just your email address. Since passwords can be hard to remember, people tend to pick simple ones, or use the same password at many different sites.

That’s why almost all online services, banks, social media, and shopping have added a way for your accounts to be more secure. You may hear it called “Two-Step Verification” or “Multi-factor Authentication”, but the good ones all operate off the same principle. When you sign into the account for the first time on a new device or app (like a web browser), you need more than just the username and password. You need a second thing, what is called a second “factor”, to prove who you are.

A factor in authentication is a way of confirming your identity when you try to sign in. For example, a password is one kind of factor — it’s a thing you know. The three most common kinds of factors are:

  • Something you know – Like a password, or a memorized PIN.
  • Something you have – Like a smartphone, or a secure USB key.
  • Something you are – Like a fingerprint, or facial recognition.

The easiest way to protect yourself from cyber threats is by having a strong password. It’s simple – the longer and more complex your password, the more difficult it is to crack. Shorter and simpler passwords take less time and resources for hackers to compromise. Hackers have created databases of the most common words, phrases, and number combinations that they can run your password through to find a match. The following are some common password themes that you should avoid: Birthdays, Names, Phone numbers, Sports teams, and simple obfuscations of a common word (“P@$$w0rd”).

What Makes a Good Password? To start, your password should be at least 10 characters long (more is better!), with at least one capital letter, one number, and one special character (“@”, or “%”, etc.). As an added layer of security, change your passwords on a regular basis to ensure that you stay ahead of the hackers. And, whenever possible, you should use multi-factor authentication, such as Google’s “Two Step Verification” to add an extra layer of security.

Remember, the best passwords contain as much randomness as possible – using unlikely combinations and random characters is a great strategy. Be creative!

  • Bad: Fuzzydog82
  • Better: %FuZZyD0G#8254!
  • Best: myFuzzyDog-eats4bones!Aday-BIG$

It’s also important to remember that you should not use the same password for multiple accounts, no matter how strong it is, because if one account gets compromised, then they’re all compromised.

Cumberland Connect subscribers can add a secret weapon to their cybersecurity arsenal: ProtectIQ Network Security. With ProtectIQ™, you can have an extra layer of network-level security that helps protect all devices connected to your network. It leverages a large cloud database of known virus and ransomware threats. By looking for the specific signatures of these threats in real-time, ProtectIQ can terminate the transfer of data before a malicious payload is delivered to any vulnerable devices in the network. As new threats are emerging daily, the threat database is continuously updated to offer protection against the latest threats. 

ProtectIQ is a network-level security application, included in the Peace of Mind Package, that works quietly in the background and proactively helps keep malicious websites, viruses, and intrusion away from your home 24/7/365. Learn more about ProtectIQ and the other great benefits of enrolling in the Peace of Mind Package by clicking here.

We want you to have an awesome experience online — and that means keeping your personal information safe and protected! We hope that spreading awareness and sharing these safety tips helps you stay safe online — and be sure to check out our blog to read more about common online scams to watch out for.

*ProtectIQ is not a replacement for traditional antivirus software, but rather, works together with your antivirus software by ensuring that Internet-connected devices like video cameras, Smart TVs, home automation systems, video doorbells, or any other “smart” devices in your home are monitored for web threats and intrusions. While ProtectIQ adds an extra layer of security to your Wi-Fi network, ProtectIQ is not a substitute for antivirus software, and our team recommends keeping anti-virus software as an add-on to ProtectIQ as it can help clean up any systems that are infected.

Sources: Calix

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