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14 Jan 2021
IoT Explained: Solutions, Security Advice, and Real World Applications
What is IoT?The Internet of Things (IoT) is exactly what its name suggests: physical objects, or things, which are fitted with software, sensors, and various other technologies that allow them to connect and exchange information with other objects or systems via the internet. With broadband internet becoming cheaper and more widely available and technology costs continually decreasing, almost anything with an on/off switch can be connected to the internet now. Everything from coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves, doorbells, trash cans, and wearable devices can now be plugged into the internet to provide real time updates and interactions. This expansion also applies to the individual components of complex machines. For instance, the jet engine of an airplane can be fitted with feedback sensors or the drill of an oil rig. All in an attempt to monitor, in real time, how efficiently those components are operating.IoT SolutionsTheres a lot of buzz currently surrounding IoT, and the term is relatively new, but what it refers to has actually been around for quite some time. Machine-to-machine communication has been around since the 70s and was the foundational principle upon which the internet was built. Whats changed recently is the ease in which you can implement these types of services. An IoT solution can be viewed as any service that offers a seamlessly integrated bundle of technologies that companies can utilize to problem solve and/or create new organizational value. These services will typically involve a wide array of sensors.You can look to the food industry for a common example of IoT solutions solving problems. When storing food, if the temperature of a refrigerator falls below a certain threshold then all the food stored there needs to be thrown out, at a great cost to the business. To ensure that wouldnt happen, restaurants and grocery stores would have employees routinely check the temperature manually and record the results throughout the day by hand. This solution is costly, time consuming, and prone to human error. Using sensors that monitor temperature in real time and send out alerts once temperature falls below a certain threshold is a much more efficient way to solve this problem. Employee time can be spent on more essential duties and the risk of error is greatly reduced. All while the accuracy of mission critical tasks increases while costs decrease.IoT solutions can also boost a companys value in addition to solving core day to day problems. Lets use a car dealership as an example. Throughout any given day, a dealership may have dozens of cars that are being repaired, detailed, or shipped between locations. Thats a lot of assets to keep track of. The dealership could dedicate a person or team to track each asset but that would be just as costly and error prone as the food industry example above. IoT services can make this process more efficient by adding sensors to the cars that track each one through all potential stages (mechanic shop, detailing, shipping, etc.) and sends out alerts once an asset is in one stage for too long. This would identify inefficiencies much quicker and at a greatly reduced cost to the dealership, increasing the value that they bring to potential customers by streamlining their internal processes. These basic examples are useful in understanding what IoT was designed for but the next logical question is, what is the current state of IoT solutions for enterprise businesses?IoT Industrial SolutionsFor the majority of large companies, the ability to accurately predict outcomes can mean the difference between sinking or rising to the top of an industry. By compiling data from a wide array of sensors either on or in machines, machine learning algorithms can learn whats normal for a particular machine and detect when something abnormal is about to occur. These customized platforms can detect the slightest changes and warn businesses of developing malfunctions. This is done in real time with the results displayed in a matter of seconds. Being able to predict when a machine needs repairing translates to millions of dollars saved throughout the course of year for enterprise organizations.IoT Cloud SolutionsCloud computing and IoT are two technologies that will remain intertwined moving forward with one providing the other a platform for success and growth. Once you have a series of internet connected devices that need to communicate with one another the big question is, how will these devices remain interconnected? The answer lies in cloud services. Someone has to compile, manage, and secure all of this data for multiple users to access. In addition to providing infrastructure, cloud computing provides several core value adds for IoT solutions.ScalabilityIoT devices need to store lots of information in order to provide value to users. IoT in the cloud provides customers with a much larger space that can handle additional data per the users demands, immediately alleviating any storage concerns.PerformanceAll the data provided by IoT devices needs increased performance in order to connect and interact with one another. IoT in the cloud provides the connectivity necessary for this to happen at the pace needed to be effective.Pay-as-you-goUtilizing cloud computing infrastructure allows businesses to scale their storage as needed if they choose. Paying for the amount of storage you consume each month as opposed to trying to predict future storage needs is an appealing options for companies looking to cut costs.IoT Security SolutionsJust like any new technology, there are pros and cons that must be considered prior to implementation. The Internet of Things is promoted by manufacturers as a means to make the day to day minutiae that both individuals and companies experience more streamlined and easier to track by connecting devices to the internet. While this is often the case, it also opens up those devices to user privacy and data security issues due to the number of malicious actors on the internet. According to a recent study, nearly half of all companies in the United States that utilize IoT devices were hit by a security breach in 2017. Clearly, there is a growing need to ensure that IoT devices are secure. So what are some of the best ways to address this issue?Gather Information Whenever there is innovation, manufacturers tend to rush their products into the market in an attempt to be ahead of the curve. Before making the decision to implement IoT devices and stake your companys reputation on them, a good first step is to consult with an expert in the field and ensure that you have completed relevant research on the security issues that pertain to your unique IoT solution. That way, youll have all the information you need to make an informed decision on which of the following options may be the best fit for you.Secure Your NetworkThis can be accomplished by implementing traditional endpoint security features. Anti-virus, anti-malware, firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection systems are an essential starting point.Authenticate UsersAn additional step you can take to secure IoT devices is by adding multiple user agreement features. Some examples include two factor authentication, digital certificates, or biometrics. The more strategies you employ, the more secure each device becomes.Data EncryptionUtilizing cryptographic algorithms and fully encrypted key lifecycle management processes is a strong way to prevent IoT data breaches. This gives both the company and end user of an IoT device additional piece of mind that their personal identifiable information is safe and secure.ConclusionWere currently just scratching the surface on what IoT can do for businesses. All of the sensors currently collecting and interpreting data will continue to do so in the coming years, exponentially increasing the amount of raw data available for processing. This massive influx of data will continue to improve machine learning which will create countless opportunities for savvy companies to reap the benefits.In addition to monitoring machines, IoT solutions will continue to improve their ability to monitor us, providing health data on a scale never before seen thanks to the use of wearable biometric devices. Our ability to predict outbreaks of diseases in addition to proactively addressing health issues will become more accurate and refined.IoT solutions are also providing first responders with the information they need to prevent crimes or accidents before they even happen. Data from noise sensors, cameras, and even trash bins can be fed into machine learning algorithms to uncover preconditions for accidents or crimes. Of course, there are privacy concerns about using this data in law enforcement.IoT is worth the hype that its received in the press as of late. Its not just an empty buzzword with no real world applications. Much of the major societal changes weve seen have been driven by technologies that incorporate IoT. This looks to be the norm as we move into the future. Were limited only by our imagination when it comes to what we can accomplish with the use of IoT.
12 Jan 2021
OpenStack vs CloudStack
OpenStack vs CloudStackComparing features, strengths, and weaknesses of both platformsThe cloud has become a hot topic for businesses of all kinds, from the local small business all the way up to global enterprise clients. Even so, it remains a broad topic that covers a lot of IT territory. As you begin to consider switching your own business to the cloud its essential that you understand what makes each service unique and how they compare to one another. In this article, Ill be comparing two popular platforms, OpenStack and CloudStack. For each of these, well look at key benefits and features, variances between both of them, ease of use, and deployment.What is OpenStack?OpenStack is a cloud system that controls large amounts of storage and networking resources throughout a datacenter. All of this data is managed through APIs with a common authentication mechanism. A dashboard is provided, which gives administrators control while permitting their users to deliver resources from a web interface.Along with the standard infrastructure, there are additional components available to users that can provide fault management and service management as well as other services to ensure the high availability of user applications.FeaturesOpenStack gathers virtual resources to both build and manage private and public clouds. Projects are tools that comprise the OpenStack platform. These projects handle the core cloud-computing service of networking, storage, and identity services. There are many more available projects which can be mixed and matched to suit a clients specific needs.During virtualization, resources such as CPU and RAM are abstracted from many different programs, split by a hypervisor then distributed as needed. OpenStack uses a consistent set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to extract those virtual resources into hidden pools which are then used to power the standard cloud computing tools with which users and administrators interact with.Main Software InvolvedThere are two main types of software used to create this cloud environment: a base operating system and a program known as virtualization. Virtualization creates a layer of resources extracted from hardware, whereas the base operating system carries out the scripts commands.You can think of OpenStack as managing resources to build clouds. It doesnt virtualize resources but uses them to build the cloud. It doesnt execute any commands, rather, it relays them to the base operating system. OpenStack, Virtualization, and base OS must work together to create a fully functioning cloud.What is CloudStack?Apache CloudStack is an open-source infrastructure that allows any IT service provider to offer public cloud services. In addition to public clouds, CloudStack can also be used by those businesses that wish to offer their private cloud and hybrid cloud services to users.CloudStack has a computer function that assigns virtual machines (VMs) to an individual server; this manages switches to create and manage logical networks, block storage systems, and a cloud computing management interface. This cloud computing management interface can support all of the software components. CloudStack also allows administrators to release and manage large networks of virtual machines that can run many hypervisors such as VMware, KVM, and Microsoft Hyper-V.Features of CloudStackCloudStack includes all the features most organizations want along with an IaaS cloud. These consist of computing orchestration, Network-as-a-service, and user and account management. Users can easily manage their cloud with a simple web interface or command-line tools. CloudStack also provides an interface compatible with Amazon.What do OpenStack and CloudStack have in common?Even though OpenStack and CloudStack were made with different purposes in mind, they still have similarities. They have similar base technology and design Both can be used to make both public and hybrid clouds Both OpenStack and CloudStack have an easy to understand and user-friendly interface.Differences between OpenStack and CloudStackBefore we delve into the main differences between OpenStack and CloudStack, we have to understand it is not a fight, but a push for improved cloud control. OpenStack is a cloud system which manages sizeable pools of storage, networking resources, and servers around a datacenter. These are all controlled within a central dashboard. CloudStack, on the other hand, is an open-source app that is used to control a vast network of applications. It is extremely accessible as compared to OpenStack.Ease of UseOpenStack has improved and become easier to deploy over the years compared to the past, whereas CloudStack has been relatively simple for the past two years. Its initial deployment has not changed much as compared to OpenStack.Cloudstack is easier for day to day use. CloudStack also has some unique features such as storage independent computers and admins to create security zones across regions. This makes them perfect for day to day use and resource availability.CloudStack is also perfect for centralized management and massive scalability. It allows for effective management of numerous different servers all over the globe from a single portal. It is considerably more user friendly than its counterpart OpenStack.OpenStack, on the other hand, is not as user friendly. It faces difficulty because installation and architecture procedure still need a lot of time to distribute. Installation sometimes requires additional knowledge before it can properly be utilized. As CloudStack is relatively new compared to OpenStack, it lacks a large community base and isnt backed by the industry. However, this may change in the future has CloudStack is a refined product with heavy user adoption.Feature SetsIf we consider core feature sets, both are extremely similar. CloudStack works very well in computing and network orchestration, whereas OpenStack has some PaaS features that can be more appealing.Forum Support/ CommunityWhen we consider the communities of both OpenStack and CloudStack, both are very different. OpenStack is a huge community with many extremely talented users. This could be appealing to someone looking to lean on the expertise of the existing community. However, having a larger community occasionally results in muddled responses. As the number of users increases, so does the number of answers to issues and/or topics on the message boards.CloudStack, on the other hand, has a much smaller community that strives to be cooperative with one another. This is beneficial to users that are looking for more dialed in, one on one interactions with community member. However, the challenge of attracting more contributors and companies to help improve the software remains a challenge.Differing ConceptsOpenStack and CloudStack are completely different even if they can solve similar problems. An easy analogy through which you can understand this is do you want to play with Legos or Hot Wheels. One is a set of building blocks where youre free to create as you see fit (OpenStack), whereas the other one is a completely finished product ready for you to play with as soon as you open it (CloudStack).OpenStack is modular software. It is compostable, meaning that you can select and combine different components to get your own unique cloud. This allows full freedom for the individual, and you can easily scale the size of your clouds. For example, if you have to make a smaller cloud, you may only require around three nodes, whereas if you need a larger cloud, you may need around ten nodes.Cloudstack is less flexible as compared to OpenStack. Most of its modules are bundled in one binary with the exceptions of some network controllers. But CloudStack is relatively simpler and easier to implement as compared to OpenStack.Which is utilized more?OpenStack is a more full-grown product as there are more than a hundred and fifty firms are all subscribe to OpenStack. Some examples of firms are Yahoo, Dell and IBM. OpenStack is currently the head in cloud platform control and continues to develop as time goes on.However, OpenStack is more challenging to distribute. It usually requires to be controlled from several CLI consoles. It is considerably more complex. Fortunately, there are a lot of installation and configurations templates that are available online.Cloudstack is, in comparison, much simpler. Its distribution is much more straightforward as compared to OpenStack. It comprises of a single virtual machine operating the control server and the other acts as the cloud substructure. It is so simple that you could distribute the whole thing in a physical host. The deployment is extremely smooth.VerdictBoth CloudStack and OpenStack have their advantages and disadvantages; we cannot clearly state one is better than the other without knowing what theyll be used for. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages, the key is knowing what those are and understanding how that relates to your IT needs. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to the cloud. The best option is to research both programs and decide which one suits your business the best based on what youre trying to accomplish. Engaging with an experienced IT consultantduring the decision making process is a good starting point to ensure that you have all the information needed to make the decision thats right for your IT needs. Intimately understanding what each platform has to offer and how it can benefit you is the first step in making an informed decision.
7 Jan 2021
Everything You Need to Know About PII - Personal Identifiable Information
In the digital age we currently live in, topics such as Personal Data Collection are becoming increasingly important. Its no longer the case that large corporations use your personal information just to sell you a product. Today, Personal Information has become a security issue. Cybercriminals have found that selling Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is a very profitable market, and as a direct consequence, governments around the world have created increasingly stringent regulations for the handling of personal information.In this article, Im going to explore everything related to Personal Identifiable Information, from its definition to some of the regulations that currently seek to protect the privacy of individuals.What is PII?Everything related to privacy has always been controversial, so it should come as no surprise that the very definition of the term PII is not universally accepted in all jurisdictions.For example, according to the United States Department of Defense (DoD), PII is defined as the Information used to distinguish or trace an individuals identity ... Moreover, the DoD goes further by stating that PII includes any information that is linked or linkable to a specified individual, alone, or when combined with other personal or identifying information. On the other hand, laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union use the term Personal Data instead of PII to describe any piece of information that relates to an identifiable personIn simple terms, it can be said that Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any type of data that can be used alone or combined with other relevant information to identify a specific individual.What is Considered PII?Since there is no unanimous opinion about what PII is, there are different opinions about what can be considered as Personal Identifiable Information.A classic example has to do with the IP address of a user. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted in 2018 clearly establishes that the IP address of a subscriber can be classified as personal data. However, in many countries and even in some US states, the IP address may not necessarily be considered part of the PII. Simply put, what is considered PII depends on who you ask, or rather, where you do business.Despite the discrepancies between the laws of different countries and regulatory entities, in general, the following is considered sensitive PII:Full nameSocial Security Number (SSN)Drivers license / National Identity CardPhysical mailing addressPhone numbersCriminal or employment historyPassport informationCredit Card informationFinancial informationMedical recordsAs mentioned above, the EU GDPR is much more inclusive with respect to what is considered sensitive Personal Data and includes a huge number of additional elements such as:Email addressAny online identifier (including but not limited to IP address, Login IDs, Social Media Posts, customer loyalty histories, cookie identifiers, etc)Geolocation dataBiometric data (including but not limited to fingerprints, voiceprints, photographs, video footage, etc)Any factor specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity of the individualAnother recent PII legislation, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), goes even further than the GDPR by including additional data such as:AliasesOnline Account NamesRecords of personal propertyPurchased products and servicesPurchases or consuming tendenciesBrowsing historySearch historyInformation regarding users interaction with websitesAudio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory, or similar informationEducation information that is not publicly availableInferred consumer profile including consumers preferences, characteristics, psychological trends, preferences, predispositions, behavior, attitudes, intelligence, abilities, and aptitudesOther types of information that could be used to indirectly identify an individual are also mentioned in most current legislations. Examples of this type of information are:ZipcodeRaceGenderDate of birthPlace of birthReligionWhy is PII Important?Keeping users personal information safe is a matter of utmost importance. Not only can this information put the person involved at risk, but also the entire organization where that person works at. Just stop for a moment to think what cybercriminals can do with this type of information if it is made available to them:Identity theft to carry out criminal actsBribes or other types of extortion both to the individual and to the company in which she/he worksCreation of false identity documentsTheft of funds deposited in banks or other financial institutionsAccess to classified information through the use of biometrics dataWhat is described above only reflects some of the disastrous consequences for those who are the victim of information theft. It is for this reason that PII regulations take the security of private information so seriously. Protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is an obligation of every company that collects this type of data. As a result, huge fines are stipulated for those who fail to comply with these guidelines.Taking as an example EUs GDPR, especially severe violations of the regulation can lead to fines up to 20 million euros or up to 4% of the companys total global turnover of the preceding fiscal year.Regulator Compliance and PIIThe increasing number of regulations surrounding the use and protection of personal information is a trend thats here to stay. Ive already mentioned two of the most relevant regulations, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). However, there are many others, such as the Singapore Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), Brazils General Personal Data Protection Law (LGPD), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as other data protection acts enacted by Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Switzerland just to mention a few.What is clear from seeing how these regulations grow both in number and scope, is that achieving regulatory compliance should be a huge priority to any online business. The question is, how can this goal be achieved?For your reference, below Ive included a PII compliance checklist to give you an idea of the actions necessary to avoid fees for failure to meet these obligations.Identify any data within your organization that could be considered PII, and ensure it is stored in a safe mannerIf your company offers products or services globally, consider limiting web access to users from jurisdictions where your company does not comply with relevant regulations.Minimize the collection and retention of Personal Data, since this reduces the risk of violating any of the current or future lawsAnonymise PII data whether possibleDefine clear policies and procedures concerning how to handle PII. Once these policies are in use, keep them updatedEncrypt databases and/or any other environment where PII is storedKeep your staff aware of the importance of keeping sensitive information secureUse access control policies to limit who can access this type of informationImprove and keep data transmission mechanisms updatedPerform PII audits on a regular basisMake it easy for users to review, modify, or request the deletion of the data collected about themFor further reference, as well as PII compliance requirements, a valid option is visiting GDPRs checklist for data controllers or NISTs Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)How to Identify PIIArguably, once the general concept of PII is clear, identifying this type of information is relatively easy, as it only takes common sense to recognize an individuals personal information. However, common sense can be somewhat misleading, especially when different regulations have different views of what should be considered private information. In this sense, it is highly recommended to use specialized PII scanning discovery tools when auditing your companys data, as they can greatly facilitate this delicate task. These tools not only automate a good part of the process but also help to comply with the different regulations, both by identifying possible vulnerabilities and offering suggestions regarding the classification of said information.Tools for Identifying PIIAs mentioned in the previous section, PII Scanning Discovery Tools are very valuable pieces of software that help detect problems in handling sensitive information. Among its main benefits are:Comprehensive PII Data Discovery. Automatically scans cloud storage, workstations, local files shares, mobile devices, and more, in order to locate PII data such as personal, finance, health, and other sensitive information.Risk assessment. Identify potential risks in all digital assets that are not properly protected or reside outside a secure environment.Facilitates data management. Filter different types of PII data, organize it according to organization rules/needs, and export it for further analysis.Remediate PII issues. Most of these tools offer the possibility of analyzing the flow of data both passively and in real-time in order to put in quarantine all the sensitive information that does not comply with the appropriate security standards.ConclusionPersonal Information has morphed into a glaring security concern that requires vigilance from companies that rely on that data to service their clients. Having awareness of the PII laws and regulations that apply to your company are crucial. There are many tools available to identify sensitive information but whats usually lacking is the knowledge and desire from companies to protect this valuable information. With personal information becoming more valuable and cyber attacks increasing in the wake of the Pandemic, now more than ever organizations need to have solid strategies in place to deal with this growing threat.
10 Dec 2020
Top Password Hacking Methods Plus 10 Tips for Creating Strong Passwords
When it comes to security, passwords are among the weakest link. When a bad actor gains access to your credentials, your data is almost certainly in danger of a breach. Its hacking and data breaches that keep all CIOs and CISOs up at night. Why? Because nearly everyone is vulnerable to phishing attacks, credential stuffing, keyloggers, and so forth. Its no joke. The number of tools and techniques available to hackers and cybercriminals is mind-boggling, to say the least. Many you havent even heard of yet and thats just the beginning.In this article, we will examine one of the top cybersecurity threats from a password perspective. We will look at some of the top tools and techniques that hackers use to gain access to passwords. We will also look at helpful tips for generating, managing, and securing passwords. If that sounds interesting, you should definitely continue reading this article.Top Password Hacking MethodsWhen do you think the first hack took place? Would you imagine that it came in 1878 when Bell Telephone was started? Thats right. A group of teenagers, hired to run switchboards, disconnected and misdirected calls. However, the first real computer hackers started in the 1960s.Oh, how the times have changed. Hackers are much more sophisticated today. Or are they? While some technics are highly sophisticated and use specially designed programs and tools, others are very simplistic and rely on naivete. Heres a list of the top ways that hackers hack your passwords.1) Credential StuffingImagine youre a hacker buying 100,000 usernames, emails, and passwords on the dark web. By the way, those credentials were probably hacked from a weak website, blog, or e-commerce site and then sold on the dark web.Next, you start testing those credentials against other databases to see if theres a match. For example, you could get your list and start testing it against banks, merchants, and other websites. Once you find a match, youre in.Furthermore, all of this can be automated. There are tools that test stolen credentials across multiple sites allowing hackers to quickly breach new accounts even on sites with good security.Its estimated that tens of millions of accounts are tested each day with the credential stuffing technique.2) Phishing AttacksIf you thought that credential stuffing was bad, phishing is even worse because you are unknowingly giving bad actors your username and passwords.Its estimated that nearly 70% of all cybercrimes begin with phishing attacks. For hackers, they love this technique. It works all too well to steal your information for their own use or to sell it to others on the dark web.How do phishing attacks work? Were glad you asked Its pretty straight forward. Hackers use a technique called social engineering to trick users into supplying their credentials to what they believe is a genuine request from a legitimate website, vendor or employer.Phishing attacks almost always come through emails that contain a fraudulent link or a malicious attachment. When the user clicks on either, the hacker presents a fake account login page where the user enters in their credentials. Hackers may also use other forms of interception which as a man-in-the-middle attack to steal user credentials.3) Password SprayingA hacker may only have a list of usernames. This is pretty common. Password spraying is a technique that tests commonly used passwords against a username or account. Examples include passwords such as 123456, password, password123, admin and others.You may be thinking that this is similar to credential stuffing. Youre right Password spraying is very similar to credential spaying. Its estimated that this technique is used 16% of the time in hacking passwords and accounts.Most website and logins now detect repeated password attempts from the same IP. Hackers use numerous IPs to extend the number of passwords they can try before being detected. It could be the top 5, 10, or 100 commonly used passwords.4) KeyloggingKeylogging. Its not something you want to mess with. Keylogging is used in targeted attacks where the hacker knows or is particularly interested in the victim. Its used to target spouses, colleagues and relatives. Its also used to target corporations and nation-states.This is a highly complicated technique that requires access or compromise of the victims machine via malware. You can find your favorite off-the-shelf keyloggers and commercial spyware on the internet and dark web.With keyloggers, it really doesnt matter how strong your password is. The hacker can see exactly what you type in for your username and password. Its great for gaining access to bank accounts, websites and especially cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets where fund transfers cannot be reversed.5) Brute Force AttackWhen you think about sophisticated hacks, you probably visualize scenes from movies like James Bond, Mission Impossible or Borne Identity. Well, brute force attacks are probably the closest you are going to get to a real word James Bond scene.Its a good thing that they are among the least used. Brute force attacks are difficult to pull off, time consulting and expensive. Hackers use tools like Aircrack-ng, John The Ripper, and DaveGrohl to attempt brute force attacks on credentials.There are two types of attacks. The dictionary attack uses every word in the dictionary as the passwords. The tools mentioned above can run and test the entire dictionary in a matter of seconds. The other type involves using the hash of the plain-text password. The goal is to hash as many plain-text passwords as possible to find a match. Rainbow tables exist which list the hashes of common passphrases to speed up the process.Tips for Creating Strong PasswordsAs mentioned, there are sophisticated hacks and simple hacks but one constant poor username and password policies and knowledge. Here are the top tips for creating strong passwords.1) Use Passwords With At Least 10 CharactersYour passwords should contain at least 10 characters. I know, it sounds like a lot. Long-tail, complex passwords really are hard to crack. To make your passwords complex but memorable, utilize several types of characters, a mixture of lower and uppercase letters, and symbols.2) Dont Use Personal Information In Your PasswordsYou should avoid using personal information as these are the first options that hackers try to exploit. Hackers attempting to hack your accounts might already know personal details like your address, street, phone number, spouses name, childrens names, pets names, birthdays, anniversaries, and so on. Theyll use that information as an aid to guess your password more easily.3) Dont Use Commonly Used PasswordsThis is one of the biggest mistakes you can use with your password. Dont use common passwords like password or 123456. These are some of the easiest passwords to hack and can lead to a serious data breach or access to important accounts.4) Dont Use Common Dictionary WordsThis is a really tough one to put in place, but you should avoid using common dictionary words. Using common dictionary words are often used in brute force attacks. In addition, using two common dictionary words does not make your password more secure against an attack. For example, do not use Red, Cars or RedCars. Its actually better to misspell or make up words if you can. Instead, use something like RedddCarzz. You would also want to add some other character types to it as well.5) Use Complex Passwords With Special CharactersI mentioned that you shouldnt use common dictionary words. The next step is to add more complexity by adding special characters. This includes replacing letters with numbers and punctuation. Here are some ideas to help you create highly-complex, unusually spelled, and unique passwords.TotallySecurePasswords! = T0ttallySecur3Pa55w0rd5!BeyondComplexPass# = B3yondc0mp1exPa$$#Its that easy. Use a phrase or word and then mix it with shortcuts, nicknames, and acronyms. Using shortcuts, abbreviations, upper and lower case letters deliver simple to remember but protected passwords.7) Use An Easy to Remember PhraseIts really frustrating when you cannot remember your password. One alternative is to create a phrase and then mix it up by shortening it, adding nicknames, misspellings and acronyms. This will deliver a password that is easy to remember but safe. Here is an example.Use something that you would only know like one of your college house addresses and how much you paid in rent or when you graduated.CollegeRoodStHouse$750 = C0llegeR00dStHouse$750$Make sure to mix up the words.8) Use Different Passwords for Different AccountsYou should use different passwords for different accounts. I know, it seems like a pain but if you are using the same password across many accounts and your credentials are compromised, all of your accounts using those credentials are now vulnerable.9) Use Password Generator and Manager ToolImplementing strong password policies as well as training and enforcing them is a difficult task for all businesses regardless of size. With a large number of websites and accounts we access on a daily basis, theres no logical way to remember different passwords for each account. Further, writing them down or storing them can be yet another security risk.A password manager can help your users generate strong passwords in addition to remembering them. Instead of remembering 15-20 passwords, your users will have to remember a single root password. Now, you have to remember that a strong root password and 2FA will be critical otherwise hackers could potentially hack your password manager tool.10) Use Two Factor AuthenticationThis is one of the most important password protection strategies you can have. What is two-factor authentication? Two-factor authentication, also called 2FA, is a two-step verification procedure, or TFA. It takes more than a username and password but also something which only that user has on them.For example, after entering your username and password, you may have to further verify by using an email, phone or 2FA code generator. This adds an additional level of security and alerts users to potential hacking attempts.