The Ankota Healthcare Delivery Management Blog

How Should Home Care Hack-proof your Passwords?

Posted by Marc Ottinger on Feb 15, 2012 1:45:00 PM

Criminals are getting smarter, so should you. 

Home Care Professionals access Ankota and other sights every day with passwords.  It is important those passwords you use are protected.  Our protection of your client data is only as strong as the passwords you use.  I am outlining what I believe are the mostHome Care Hacker Avoidance important password-protection measures experts recommend to keep hackers away: 

  • Do not use the same password twice. 
  • Make passwords strong. 
  • Avoid obvious passwords.  
  • Keep passwords safe and up-to-date. 
  • Secure your computer and browser. 

 

Don’t use the same password twice.  If a hacker obtains a password you use from one site, he will have access to your other accounts.  To make passwords easier to remember, it’s OK to use similar character patterns from site to site, varying part of it in a way that is intuitive to you, but not obvious to anyone else. 

 

Make passwords strong.  Surveys have found that 29 % of people who use passwords on their most sensitive accounts use one with seven or fewer characters.  That is too short.  Use at least eight characters.  Include an uppercase and a lowercase letter, plus a digit and a special character.  That will better protect you from someone guessing it. 

 

Making a password longer helps.  Experts estimate it would typically take a $2,000 computer 2½ hours to crack the strongest seven-character password.  An eight-character password would hold up for about 10 days, and a nine-character password would last for approximately two and a half years. 

 

Avoid obvious passwords.  Hackers have extensive “dictionaries” of widely used passwords.  When you are composing a password, do not use common words, names, or facts from your life that are likely to be in such a dictionary or that someone might guess or find out, for example a birth date or child’s name.  Avoid predictable patterns, such as starting with an uppercase letter. 

 

Keep passwords safe and up-to-date.  Don’t write down full passwords.  But if you must, keep them under lock and key.  Based on survey results, experts estimate 34 million adults keep a list of passwords or clues in a place that might be insecure. 

 

Experts say they stored their lists –

  • On an encrypted flash drive. 
  • Used an online service such as LastPass (www.lastpass.com). 
  • Stored them encrypted on a computer using KeePass (www.keepass.info), a data-protection application.

Hackers can be quite skilled at conning people into disclosing their passwords.  Don’t give passwords to anyone over the phone, via e-mail, or through a social network. 

 

If you have an old password, it may once have been strong enough but now may be too weak for today’s hackers.  Consider replacing it with a stronger one. 

 

Secure your computer and browser.  Keep your operating system and major applications up-to-date.  Run an effective security software suite that automatically updates itself.  

 

When browsing a password-protected website, look for “https:” in the site’s address. Sign into accounts by typing the URL into your browser, not by clicking on a link in an e-mail; the link could take you to a fake site.

Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital. Today Ankota services home health, private duty care, DME Delivery, RT, Physical Therapy and Home Infusion organizations, and is interested in helping to efficiently manage other forms of care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota

Topics: Home Care Best Practices, Home Care Technology

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Ankota provides software to improve the delivery of care outside the hospital, focusing on efficiency and care coordination. Ankota's primary focus is on Care Transitions for Reeadmisison avoidance and on management of Private Duty non-medical home care. To learn more, please visit www.ankota.com or contact Ankota.

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