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December 27, 2018
NEW YORK — It may seem obvious: Companies' computers, mobile devices and accounts need secure passwords. But many small business owners don't take the time to educate staffers about these very basic forms of cybersecurity. And staffers may not know that their passwords could be easily guessed by hackers and cyberthieves.
Whenever there's news of a data breach at a big company, or people hear of a friend's email being hacked, many computer users realize they need to change their passwords. It's a good start, but not enough. A study by researchers at Virginia Tech's Department of Computer Science found that it's fairly easy to guess how people modify their passwords after a breach. The researchers used a computer program that was able about half the time to figure out what a new password was based on an existing one. A cyberthief could also use such a program. So, owners who want to increase their cybersecurity need to not only ask employees to change their passwords, but to also come up with entirely new ones — changing a password like “aardvark123” to “aardvark124” isn't secure.
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