Thanks to the rise of cybercrime and data theft, password security is a major concern for modern businesses, whether or not they operate online. In 2016, companies like Twitter, Spotify, and Reddit were taken offline by a vicious attack that targeted poor passwords on net-connected devices, including webcams and home hardware.
It’s not just big brands and data-rich businesses that should be concerned, however. Better password protection could benefit us all. According to recent reports, an attack by malware (known as VPNFilter) is currently targeting home routers. The malware is already believed to have infected more than 500,000 devices.
Cybersecurity is a global issue, but it’s one that tech companies and governments are working harder than ever to address. Passwords are only part of the problem, of course, but they are problematic nonetheless. A study by Norton found that hackers stole a total of $172 billion (£130 billion) in 2017 alone. What’s more, a report by the Ponemon Institute showed a 27.4% increase in the number of hacks last year compared to 2016.
Both corporates and consumers are equally likely to fall victim to cybercrime. So what does the future hold by way of a solution?
Banning weak passwords to enhance password security
The California government has recently passed a Connected Devices bill demanding that electronics manufacturers equip their products with more “reasonable” security features. The bill means poor passwords such as “password” or “admin” will be banned from use. Instead, there will be a unique password or start-up procedure that generates a one-time code for the user. As the first state to introduce a “password law”, we can only assume that other governments will follow suit in the years to come.
Customers will be able to sue for damages
The Connected Devices bill also states that customers will be able to sue for damages when a company ignores password laws, as long as they suffer harm as a result. This is because many recent cyber-attacks have taken advantage of easy-to-guess passwords on devices found in both homes and offices. Data theft, loss of privacy, information leaks and financial damages have occurred as a result. Again, this bill could be implemented across the board if it forces companies to set passwords more responsibly.
Of course, changing a poor password is not the only method to prevent cybercrime. Many tech companies advocate using biometrics to combine regular log-ins with new technology. As a result, biometric passwords are set to be the global security solution of the future. Many biometric methods are already in use today, including facial recognition, voice recognition and fingerprint software.
Encrypting data is one way to protect information from cybercriminals. However, many business owners claim that existing encryption software can slow down other applications. The result is that data is often not being protected as it should be. Companies like Facebook and Uber have both fallen victim to high-profile hacks where criminals have been able to seize decrypted data, affecting over 90 million Facebook users and 57 million Uber customers. Easier data encryption that doesn’t affect the running of existing software could be part of the solution.
Concerned about your password security? At City Business Solutions, we can help you navigate the confusing world of IT security and make sure your data and passwords remain protected. For more information, contact us on 020 3355 7334.