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The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission remind everyone that there is no better time to review first lines of cybersecurity than March 15, National Password Day. Today is a good day to consider changing bank and credit card account and e-mail passwords.

Some security tips:

  • Make your password long, strong and complex. That means at least twelve characters, mixed with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.  Avoid common words, phrases or information in your passwords.
  • Don’t reuse passwords used on other accounts. Use different passwords for different accounts so that if hackers compromise one account, they can’t access other accounts.
  • Use multi-factor authentication, when available. For accounts that support it, two-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in. The second piece could be a code sent to your phone, or a random number generated by an app or token. This protects your account even if your password is compromised.
  • Consider a password manager. Most people have trouble keeping track of all their passwords. Consider storing your passwords and security questions in a reputable password manager, an easy-to-access application that stores all your password information. Use a strong password to secure the information in your password manager.
  • Select security questions only you know the answer to. Many security questions ask for answers to information available in public records or online, like your ZIP Code, mother’s maiden name and birth place. That is information a motivated attacker can obtain. Don’t use questions with a limited number of responses that attackers can easily guess — like the color of your first car.
  • Change passwords quickly if there is a breach. If you receive a notification from a company about a possible breach, change that password and any account that uses a similar password immediately.

“Cybersecurity affects businesses of all sizes, but those that are often targeted are small to medium sized businesses,” said Gina Sacripanti, vice president of marketing and public relations for the BBB of Southern Colorado. “The majority of our accredited businesses are small, even micro-businesses, with 20 or less employees.

“Providing education and resources to our community is a continued focus of ours. In 2018, we launched a new quarterly Cybersecurity series in Pueblo in partnership with the Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center, free to our community, to help provide business owners knowledge in how to protect themselves from being hacked,” Sacripanti added. “We also partner with Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center in Colorado Springs to provide similar educational opportunities.”

Visit southerncoloradosbdc.org for information on upcoming courses.

For more information on keeping your information secure, check out the FTC’s article on Computer Security. And click here for BBB’s tips on identity theft.