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When it comes to cyber security, don’t be like Kanye West

During his recent visit to the White House to meet with President Trump, Kanye West showed he needs cyber security training. When unlocking his phone in front of a group of cameras and he punched in his incredibly weak phone passcode of 000000. As if showing your passcode to the world isn’t bad enough, having a passcode that is so easily guessable is no good for anyone, celebrity or not.

When it comes to cyber security, we also need to keep mobile devices in mind seeing as how ingrained they are in our everyday lives. Today, phones really are just mobile computers we can put in our pockets. While they are still used to communicate with friends, family and colleagues, they have evolved to allow us to purchase things online and in some cases, even using the physical phone itself to make online and in-store purchases. With all of the important and sensitive information that is stored on our mobile devices, having adequate security measures in place to protect your data is essential, and can start with simply employing a strong passcode.

Apple devices provide the a warning notification if a user tries to set their device passcode to anything simple like Kanye’s passcode, advising them against it. This should be your first sign that you need to set a stronger passcode to protect your device. This also goes beyond the iPhone, as many Android devices allow users to set a “pattern” based passcode for their phone. While they might seem to be a secure option at first, in reality they can fall prey to the same human predictability that plagues regular password vulnerability.

Pattern based passwords also known as key walks or keyboard patters are also incredibly popular for computers and laptops, with “qwerty” being the fourth worst password in 2017, according to an analysis of five million leaked passwords by SplashData. Just because these keyboard patterns are not words or phrases that appear in the English dictionary, does not mean they cannot be the target in a dictionary attack. Each password breach gives attackers access to more password compositions and patterns, which they will add to their extensive list of high-probability passwords.

Here’s a word of advice to avoid making Kanye’s mistakes:

  1. Choose a strong passcode for your mobile device
  2. Protect your passcode and password from shoulder surfers (or national TV cameras)
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