Have You Changed Your Passwords Lately? Why Americans Make Easy Targets for Hackers

Computer hardware services

Small businesses may be more vulnerable than ever: recent studies indicate that 90% of business owners have been the target of computer virus software, identity theft, or malware as the result of hacking attempts. In some cases, employee negligence can also help hackers gain a foothold in internal networks; network security systems are often compromised from within. Statistically, more than half of all employees who are fired from their jobs either take confidential information with them or retain passwords to sensitive material.

Routinely changing network passwords is the first step toward protecting client files and financial data, but not all passwords are created equally. Laptop repair services that deal with computer viruses have noted that while a simple password — one containing six lowercase letters — can be cracked in under 15 minutes, passwords with uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols should be able to stand against intrusion for more than 45,000 years.

The statistics are startling, and it can be shocking for small business owners to realize how much risk they are facing every day. While larger business owners may be better able to absorb the cost of identity theft and should have access to advanced computer services, small business owners usually have to work harder to stay current with anti-virus computer software. Some laptop repair services — and other computer experts — recommend managed IT services for smaller business owners.

Managed IT support services may help in the fight against customer information breaches: having an offsite professional monitor computer networks, upgrade software, and investigate employees’ internet browsing patterns could allow for a swifter response to computer security issues. Having access to laptop repair services and general computer maintenance can also be a boon to offsite workers who are using their personal computers for work. Every employee should have up-to-date network security management, and passwords should be rotated every six weeks regardless of their complexity.

More than 90 billion emails are sent every day, from computers around the world. Studies reveal that more than 95% of those emails are spam, and many are specifically designed for the delivery of malware onto personal and industrial computer systems. Designed to be undetectable, computer viruses may be present on more than 90% of work computers. Small business owners who seek to prepare for outside hacking attempts may be shocked to realize that they have already been hosting invisible but damaging computer viruses for months or years.

What is the long-term solution for combating identity theft? Large-scale cloud computing firms continue to upgrade their security systems, and their solutions are available to small business owners who make use of offsite data storage. Every business should have a network security specialist, and they are often available on an “as-needed” basis to perform upgrades, maintenance, and security checks.

Remaining current on anti-virus programs and making sure that operating budgets include rigorous, ongoing security checks on client data can also help create a more positive outcome. But as businesses continue to grapple with digital security, are customers becoming more cautious about which companies they trust to keep their personal data safe and sound?

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