Do You Have a Strong Password?


A password is arguably the single most crucial component for cyber security.

According to a recent version of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report “DBIR”, 63% of all reported breaches (regardless of size) involve weak, default or stolen passwords.

A password/pin number is a string of characters, numbers, or symbols (or a combination of all three) used in verifying identity to permit access to a computer-based resource.

We use passwords for entry to home and work computers, social media accounts, online banking, email and many other functions/accounts requiring login. The password equivalent a personal identification number (PIN) allows secure use of mobile phones (including voicemail functions), tablets, and banking at remote locations such as automatic teller machines (ATM).

The best way to create a secure password or PIN is to follow the old adage, “Easy to Remember, Hard to Guess.” As a nation, we are doing less than stellar in selecting secure passwords and PINs.

Last year the most common password, “123456”, was used by 17% of the entire population. The word itself, “password”, came in eighth place in the list of most-commonly used passwords.

Obviously, the more unique a password or PIN is, the harder it will be for a hacker to determine.

Password Tips:
• Don’t share your password with anyone
• Don’t use simple dictionary words, family names, pet names or key dates like a birthday or anniversary
• Don’t repeat password usage for multiple computer resources
• Use a long password, one containing 14-25 characters (incorporate letters, numbers and symbols)
• Use a password manager (such as "LastPass")
• If possible, implement dual factor authentication

Action Items:
1. Implement a Cyber Security Awareness Campaign
2. Implement / Update IT Security Policies
3. Analyze password usage within your organization

HBK can assist you with cyber security topics or questions. Please contact Matt Schiavone at, Bill Heaven at, or Steve Franckhauser at for assistance.

About the Author(s)
Established in 1949, HBK serves clients ranging from individuals to small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations across the United States through our office locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and New Jersey. We specialize in a wide variety of tax, accounting, assurance, and business consulting services which can help you achieve all of your personal and business goals.
Hill, Barth & King LLC has prepared this material for informational purposes only. Any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or under any state or local tax law or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the matter.