How to make your passwords simple and safe

Implementing an effective password policy can make the difference between protecting your data secure and having your personal information stolen. This article will help you to protect yourself against criminals.

Tips

  • Choose passwords that are complex and/or long. The longer your passwords, the longer it will take the criminals to “crack” them.  Password length is more important than password complexity.
  • Use different passwords on different systems and logins.  Never use the same password for your office network, Facebook, LinkedIn, Banking, etc.
  • Make sure your passwords are difficult to guess and that clues are not available on social media or other public sources, e.g. do not set passwords that include your birthdate, pet’s name, vehicle details, etc..
  • Make sure your network enforces the setting of secure password policies. We can help you to automate and enforce network security policies.
  • Never write down passwords. We realise that you need to keep some record of passwords and there is a way you can record them without creating risk. This is called “The Hint Method”. Hints should be based on information that is somewhat obscure or a fact that only you know. E.g. if you secretly love blue balloons you might set a password “BigBlueBalloons”.  You can write down the hint as “bbb”.  When you need to remind yourself of the password, then you will be able to see the note “bbb” and the clue will jog your memory.  Nobody else will be able to decipher what “bbb” means. (You might need to add numbers or special characters if the particular login system requires them e.g. BBB$ might jog you to remember “BigBlueBallon$”).
  • Other options – Consider using dual authentication.

One weak password can allow criminals to penetrate your network and cause major disruption and cost for your business.

The choice – Complex or long passwords?

Until recently, most experts were recommending “complex passwords” e.g. “P@$$w0rd”.

Wrong!

More recent research has shown that this type of password is not the best option after all.

New research proves that short and complex passwords are relatively easy for hackers to crack. To make matters worse, complex passwords are difficult for you to remember. In other words, the traditional approach to setting passwords was a “lose / lose”!

Therefore, it’s time for you to consider a new approach.

New recommendations are for you to set passwords that are long, but also easy for you to remember.

Short and Complex

  • Minimum 12 characters.
  • Include at least 3 of these characteristics:
    • Uppercase letters
    • Lowercase letters
    • Numbers
    • Special Characters (!@#$ etc)

Long and simple

  • The longer the better.
  • Easy to remember, therefore you are less likely to need to write it down.

Example:

  • A complex password such as “P@$$w0rd” could be cracked by robot in 9 hours.
  • A long (but simple) password such as “Bridge 2 Home” would take a robot 5 million years to crack.

Try some variations in the password checker below to help you pick a simple but safe password.
https://howsecureismypassword.net/

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How to protect your organisation against Ransomware Encryption

Ransomware and encryptions are the fastest growing crimes on the internet.

Make sure you know how to protect your vital information.  Here are some tips on how to mitigate these possible threats.

  • Keep your operating system software updated – because, malware and viruses often target known vulnerabilities and bugs in outdated software.
  • New ransomware variants appear on a regular basis, so always keep your security software up to date as well.
  • Criminal attacks are much broader than just scam emails.  Cybercrime methods are many and varied.  That is the reason why you need a comprehensive security strategy that is managed and enforced by trained professionals.
  • Be wary of unexpected emails containing links or attachments. If you are in doubt, call us and ask for help. Criminals frequently emulate branded emails, as per the example below. Scam emails will include links that direct you to a hacker’s site or to download a virus to your computer.
  • Never open email attachments that enable macros to view the content. If you receive an email that includes a link to a macro you should immediately delete the email and request the document be sent to you as a PDF.
  • Backing up important data is the most effective way to recover from a ransomware/cybercrime attack. You should ensure that backups are stored off- line and off site. This will ensure your backups cannot be deleted by the attackers.
  • Never pay the criminals.  Ransomware is malicious software that uses encryption to conceal your data and hold you to ransom to get your data back. If you have the right precautions in place, and your backups are 100% guaranteed, you will never need to pay the criminals.

Current trends show that 1 percent of emails contain malware.  Protect your business by learning how to protect your business and by using professional protection services.

Call Net2 – We can protect your business with proven Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware and give you confidence that your backups are complete and effective.

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Are your backups really working? How can you protect your business against loss of data?

Don’t ASSUME it’s working

TEST

Your Data Backup System

We check your backups and store your backups off-site

EVERY DAY

There have been many painful stories about managers who were under the impression that their backups were working, and then one day they learn the hard way about the truth. One day there is an incident and management discovers they have no backups or that some data is missing from their backups.

What are the risks?

The traditional risks were hardware failure, building damage (lightning/fire/flood/theft/vandalism) and human error.

Ransomware, cybercrime/hacking – What is the impact on backup strategy?

The level of risk has increased greatly in recent years with the growing trend of cybercrime, hacking, encryption and ransomware.

It is more important than ever to have your backup off-site in a secure data centre.

If your business is held to ransom by criminals, your best protection by far, is to know you can restore your data from backup. Never give in to the criminals. You need to be 100% certain your data backups include 100% of your data and are working correctly.

We take backups seriously. Backups are our most important responsibility to our clients

Are you certain your backups are working? Are your backups taken off-site every day? We can conduct an independent test of your backups.

We can offer you a secure managed backup protection service (including off-site cloud storage). Your backups will be verified every day. We give you peace of mind and confidence that your data is safe every day.

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Our new ticketing system is live

We recently changed our internal ticketing system to ensure we can provide better support for our clients.

In addition, it provides our clients the ability to manage their own tickets i.e. create, update or close.

Here is the link to the portal: https://ww6.autotask.net/clientportal/Login.aspx?ci=701602

If you can’t login, contact our friendly staff to arrange access: +61 3 9320 0000 or support@commmunicat.com.au

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Cryptowall 3.0 attacking Australian businesses: Alert Priority High

Cryptowall 3.0 attacking Australian businesses
A new variant of the ransomware known as Cryptowall is believed to be attacking Australian businesses. Attacks using Cryptowall 3.0 encrypt your files, and the malicious individuals behind the malware demand payment for the key that enables you to decrypt the files. These payments can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000.

Cryptowall 3.0 uses an exploit kit capable of attacking vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer, Java, and Silverlight. Most computers run at least one of these programs.

CryptoWall 3.0 arrives via spammed emails. Please advise your staff accordingly and if they receive a suspicious email, they should not open any attachments. They should contact our helpdesk to assess if it is a valid attachment or not. Support calls are covered for our clients on the Net2 program.

Based on feedback from the Smart Protection Network, the region most affected by CryptoWall 3.0 is Australia/New Zealand, followed by North America and Europe.

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Net2 upgrades it’s MSP monitoring and remediation software

We have upgraded to the new version of N-Central, our remote monitoring and remediation software.

We will be able to deliver improved services for our Clients. A lot of these features are in already in place and working for our existing clients.

If you are finding your existing IT provider can’t deliver, call us now: +61 3 9320 0000

Read the N-Able press release below:

Source: http://blogs.n-able.com/n-central-10-our-biggest-platform-release-in-company-history-is-here/

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Internet of hackable things: wired world wide open to new age of cyber crime

Internet security is more important than ever before. Read Mark White’s article in the The Sydney Morning Herald:

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/internet-of-hackable-things-wired-world-wide-open-to-new-age-of-cyber-crime-20150523-gh7c3q.html

“We’ve wired the world but failed to secure it. ”

Marc Goodman, security consultant.

 

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Server 2012 and Server 2012R2 remove the GUI back to Core only

Server 2012 and Server 2012R2 remove the GUI back to Core only

So you have installed Server 2012 with the Hyper-V role. Your server is fully configured via the GUI

Considering it is only running Hyper-V and you want to reduce it’s footprint and the patching, it seems only fair to remove the GUI.

This can be easily done via Powershell and note it requires a reboot

Reboot Later

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra

 

Reboot Now

Uninstall-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra -restart

 

Need the GUI back, again it’s an easy powershell command

 

Reboot Later

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra

Reboot Now

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Gui-Shell, Server-Gui-Mgmt-Infra -restart

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