Press Release – Netsafe
New Zealand’s second annual Cyber Security Awareness Week kicks off today. Amy Adams, Minister for Communications and Information Technology, will officially launch the week at the Cyber Security Awareness Forum at Te Papa in Wellington at 4pm today.
Cyber Security Awareness Week is a joint initiative supported by the Government and sponsors , Google, HP, Image Centre Group, Microsoft, Norton, Sophos, Telecom and Trade Me, as well as almost 50 partner companies to raise awareness of cyber security issues.
The Tight 5 of Computer Security
Using strong passwords is the first of NetSafe’s ‘Tight 5’ key themes which are being highlighted in the course of the week, one every day. The Tight 5 are the five basics of cyber security that when used jointly will keep you safe online, they are:
· Use strong passwords – Monday 27 May
· Update everything – Tuesday 28 May
· Use a secure wireless network – Wednesday 29 May
· Back up your files – Thursday 30 May
· Think before you click – Friday 31 May.
“Using strong passwords is a simple and effective way to protect yourself from cybercrime,” says Martin Cocker, Executive Director of NetSafe. “The best passwords are long, at least 15 characters, and consist of a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.”
Cocker warns against passwords that are easy to guess or in common use. Late last year, the US-based company SplashData examined millions of stolen passwords posted online by hackers and revealed some of the most popular. They included: password, password1, 123456, abc123, qwerty, monkey, letmein, welcome and trustno1.
“If you use the same password for lots of sites then you’re making it easy for hackers; we have people calling us because they’ve had their Facebook password broken and from there it’s a slippery slope, people use the same password for their emails and often have crucial personal information and copies of documents like passports and birth certificates stored in email accounts. You just can’t afford to have one password, there’s no failsafe, if one goes down they all go down,” says Cocker.
Johnny Luu, Communications & Public Affairs Manager of Google Australia and New Zealand stresses that passwords are your digital key and should be treated as such “One of the most common mistakes we see is using the same simple password across all the sites you visit on the web. You wouldn’t want one master key that unlocks your car, opens your front door and provides entry to the jewellery in your safe. It’s the same on the web, so it’s a good idea to have a variety of unique passwords, which contain letters and numbers, for all of the websites you visit.”
For the Monday theme of using strong passwords, NetSafe representatives asked Aucklanders and people at Taumata Hill in Hawke’s Bay (Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu) about their passwords. A short, light-hearted video about passwords will be shown at the launch event and will afterwards be available on www.securitycentral.org.nz