The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


January 2014

Protection, passwords, and phishing
Security in the work environment is imperative

By Rick Cogley

Security is typically an inconvenient matter, and a necessary evil for us today.

The ongoing education in any work environment about the importance and mechanics of security should not be ignored and is vital to ensuring continued awareness. Indeed, recent security breaches as reported in the news should spike your general awareness of security.

Below are some simple rules of thumb to learn and share with your colleagues.

Keep your computer and devices protected with whatever basic means are available. Most computers can be protected with a password, which means protection for your logon user account and hardware.

Protect your mobile phone or tablet by using the lock screen feature. This is low-hanging fruit, so there’s no excuse not to use it.

Don’t use the same password for all websites and systems, or the easy-to-guess passwords such as a pet’s name. Instead, use eight or more characters, with a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.

As for passwords such as “123456” or “password”? Just say no. I use a password manager; its storage database is protected by a strong password, with each stored website set to a secure and individual password.

Beware of phishing attacks where you are prompted to enter online banking or credit card credentials. These are the cyber equivalent of scams such as the ore ore (it’s me, it’s me) wire transfer scam, which is targeting the elderly in Japan.

Finally, enable two-factor authentication in any web system you can (it is becoming prevalent). This allows access to be dependent on something you know (a username and password), as well as on something you have, such as a security device like Yubikey from Swedish-based company Yubico, or a mobile application.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Stay safe in the new year!