Don’t Get Spooked by Cyber Scams: Implement These Security Measures

October 30, 2020

By Marshall Welke, Chief Compliance Officer & Director of Operations

October isn’t only for ghosts and ghouls. It’s also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

This year, cybersecurity is more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Scammers are taking advantage of fear and uncertainty during this time, along with the widespread and rapid shift to remote work.

To that end, we wanted to share several measures you can take to help safeguard yourself from potential cyber threats while working from home:

  • Update your Wi-Fi router’s firmware. Router firmware is software embedded inside your router that provides network protocols, cybersecurity protections and administrative controls. Upgrading it ensures your Wi-Fi has a strong signal, optimal performance and enhanced security. This process will be different for each person depending on whether you received your router from an internet service provider or purchased it on your own. If the former, most internet service providers will routinely update the firmware for you. If the latter, we recommend following this step-by-step procedure to upgrade.
  • Reset your home Wi-Fi password. Regularly changing your passwords is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to protect yourself from cyber scams and attacks. Each router and/or internet service provider has a different password-changing process. As such, below are links to a variety of how-to guides. If directions are already listed on the side of your router, please follow those steps.

The password itself is also critically important. The longer and more complex, the better. The chart below illustrates different password types with a corresponding estimate of how long it would take an algorithmic program to crack your password. The key takeaway is that implementing a mix of lowercase and capital letters, symbols and numbers makes it drastically more difficult to guess your password. This same logic applies for your bank, Windows, email and other account passwords.

Algorithmic Crack Time

Password LengthLowercase Only

Capital Letter, Symbols, Numbers

3 Characters

.02 Seconds

0.86 Seconds

4 Characters.046 Seconds

1.36 Minutes

5 Characters

11.9 Seconds

2.15 Hours

6 Characters

5.15 Minutes

8.51 Days

7 Characters

2.23 Hours

2.21 Years

8 Characters

2.42 Days

2.10 Centuries

9 Characters

2.07 Months

20 Millenia

10 Characters

4.48 Years

1,899 Millenia

11 Characters1.16 Centuries

180,365 Millenia

12 Characters

3.03 Millenia

17,184,705 Millenia

13 Characters78.7 Millenia

1,627,797,068 Millenia

14 Characters2,046 Millenia

154,640,721,434 Millenia

These are just a few, yet effective, cybersecurity measures to implement for a safer remote working environment. For additional information, please contact IT@exencialwealth.com.

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