Did you know that it is basically Halloween each and every day in your computer? That digital doorbell is ringing every time you visit a website, get an email or download an application. How is your computer greeting those Zombies, Bots and Trojans? Are you giving them treats and sending them on their way? Or are they preparing to trick your computer and wreak havoc on all of your personal data?
If you follow any of my recommendations on protecting your computers, your online identity and your privacy, the Halloween in your computer probably is a pretty boring affair. Those scary visitors come and leave without much activity. They are looking for those easy targets, the computers without security software or anti-virus software. They are testing your strong passwords with brute force attacks and then moving on to people who have weaker passwords. Here’s a tip, if your password appears on the list below, it’s really time to change it to something stronger!
Here’s a list of the most used passwords of 2012:
- password (Unchanged)
- 123456 (Unchanged)
- 12345678 (Unchanged)
- abc123 (Up 1)
- qwerty (Down 1)
- monkey (Unchanged)
- letmein (Up 1)
- dragon (Up 2)
- 111111 (Up 3)
- baseball (Up 1)
- iloveyou (Up 2)
- trustno1 (Down 3)
- 1234567 (Down 6)
- sunshine (Up 1)
- master (Down 1)
- 123123 (Up 4)
- welcome (New)
- shadow (Up 1)
- ashley (Down 3)
- football (Up 5)
- jesus (New)
- michael (Up 2)
- ninja (New)
- mustang (New)
- password1 (New)
If your password is on this list, shame on you! Change it!
Let’s think about your online security of your family. Who is in charge of it? Who keeps your computers and mobile devices up to date and protected? Someone in your household should be in charge.
If you are the person tasked with this fun topic, take this quick Halloween Quiz over at Trend Micro to see how you do. (I’ll be honest, I actually missed 1 of them – but it was a tricky one). Cyber threats are becoming spookier and scarier each and every day. And these threats are not only growing but are becoming more sophisticated, utilizing social engineering to hook you in and make you take that unfortunate scary action.
So, what are you scared of?
As part of a year long program that I and other bloggers have been doing with Trend Micro called The Digital Joneses, every month we undertake some sort of a challenge. As this is October and the time of ghosts and goblins, I wanted to be sure to scare you. You should be scared to be hacked, to get viruses, to have botnets running from your computer, to have all of your personal information deleted or shared with the world. Forget about going and trying to get candy! How about making sure that no bots, trojans or zombies are having a party in your computer at your expense.
There are many ways to be sure that you are protected from those computer trick or treaters.
- Set up strong passwords that are different for each domain that you use.
- Don’t share your personal information on social networks.
- Stay away from clicking on links in emails.
- Don’t download software that you don’t know.
- Install some sort of free or paid anti-virus software from a reputable company.
- Regularly install Operating System and software updates.
- Keep your browser current.
- Make regular backups of your computers.
Oh, did you like the graphics? These are all part of a larger, Halloween-inspired infographic provided to us by Trend Micros. You can see the full version below (click the image to enlarge or download here).
What are you most afraid of on Halloween? Running out of candy? Having someone play a trick on you? Or giving away your computer or personal information to a “stranger” who comes to your “digital door?” Hopefully you can focus on the fun that is Halloween and leave all of that scary cyber-threats to some other neighbor.
Disclosure Text: For the Digital Joneses Study, Trend Micro has provided each of the bloggers involved, including me, technology and/or software items for use in the various challenges and/or for review. I have a material connection because I received these items for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return these items or gifts after my review period or the study duration. All opinions within this article are my own and not subject to the editing or approval by Trend Micro or its contractors. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.
HTD says: Have a safe and fun Halloween and make sure send all of those digital ghouls somewhere else!