Our 12 Days of Tips series explores how small retailers can ACT now to repel data thieves during this prime shopping season. Awareness, Checking security controls and Testing security now will help your business lock down your systems during the holiday rush.
Merchants looking for more information on how to secure customer payment data should visit the PCI SSC merchant site.
Don’t Lose Your Business to a Bad Password!
If hard work is the key to success in small business, using a weak password is a quick way to lose it all.
Your password is vital to computer security. Just like a lock on your door protects physical property, a password protects your business data. Hackers try to guess it, steal it, or trick you into sharing it for one goal: to unlock access to your computer accounts and cardholder data.
About 80% of data breaches involve compromised passwords. The fallout for a small merchant can be painful. Fraud and chargebacks can trigger financial liability. There may be fines or lawsuits. Your business reputation suffers. And customers lose trust. About 43% of customers who are victims of fraud stop doing business with the breached merchant. And 60% of small businesses breached close within six months. Don’t let this happen to you!
Using a strong password can help stop hackers cold. A strong password has seven or more characters and a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols such as !@#$&*. A phrase can help you remember a strong password, like “B1gMac&frieS”.
Here are three simple steps to strong password security.
1. Change default passwords. Computer equipment and software often comes with a vendor-provided default password such as “password” or “admin.” Change defaults immediately!
2. Make it hard to guess. The most common passwords are “password” and “123456.” Hackers try easily-guessed passwords because they’re used by half of all people. Avoid this habit and use a strong password as described above.
3. Change it regularly. Treat your password like a toothbrush. Don’t let anyone use it. Get a new one every three months.
If you need help changing your password, contact the person or company who installed your computers or point-of-sale system.
Resources that can help you:
Merchants looking for more information on payment security essentials should start here: