Security Is Your Responsibility Too
I could only sigh, log in and change the password myself; which I did, and then texted it to the business owner.
In a conversation about this with my 30-year-old son (yes, a gamer/hacker), he pointed out to me this is an issue of semantics. My client's understanding of a difficult password and my understanding differed (substantially). Thus when I requested a difficult password, she believed adding 1234 created sufficient security.
Many hackers make no attempt to guess passwords. They go the easy route of grabbing your password during a security breach. Think back to recent news when Adobe servers were hacked and millions of email addresses and matching passwords were stolen. If your client is (or you are) using that same email address and password for accessing other accounts, then the hackers who attacked Adobe may well now have access to your bank account, your credit cards, and so much more.
When we ask our clients for their credentials and do not enable them to provide this to us securely—and compound the problem by forwarding those unsecure emails to our team—we increase the risk to and potential losses of our clients.
Here are some ideas for helping your clients protect themselves:
As I pointed out earlier, sending the user name via email and the password via text is helpful. As we've learned from Target, Adobe, Snapchat and others, nothing is failsafe, but though you cannot prevent hacking or interception, you can certainly throw in a few roadblocks to make it more difficult. It's akin to parking your car after dark under the street light.
Pattern and Unique-to-site Passwords
Many people use the same password simply because it's so difficult to remember multiple logins. Several years ago, I read a great blog for creating passwords—it's one we still use today, and one we teach our clients. It provides for a different password for every account and website, and gives an extra layer of security, even if someone does manage to hack one of your accounts or access your credentials from an unsecured server. Shared here:
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Cyndie Shaffstall, founder, Spider Trainers, is a successful entrepreneur and prolific author, with many books, dozens of eBooks, and hundreds of articles to her credit. She is the former founder of ThePowerXChange, editor and publisher of X-Ray Magazine, and the current founder and managing member of Spider Trainers, a managed automated email services provider for companies around the world. Connect with Cyndie on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or join her LinkedIn Group, the Marketing Resource Library for daily links to marketing-critical resources.