Warning to Midlands bosses: Could your password be guessed from your digital footprint?

A surprising number of passwords can be guessed by cyber criminals studying someone’s digital footprint, a local data security expert has warned.

Something as innocent as a photo of your child’s birthday party or a memory of a childhood pet can be used to guess critical passwords.

“The internet never forgets content you posted years ago,” said Lee Hewson, of Your IT Department, “even though you do.”

“Cyber criminals use a range of tools to try to access a business’s accounts. Automated tools that brute force try thousands of weak passwords are popular.

“But so is social engineering, where they will study a person’s digital footprint to look for ideas. You might consider using your childhood dog’s name to be a safe password, but it probably isn’t.

“Especially when you did a Facebook post 7 years ago about how much you miss your dog… including its name.”

Lee explained that everyone has a digital footprint – information about them that can be accessed by anyone online.

Bosses of local companies might be careful about what they post today. But cyber criminals will look up content from when they were much younger.

“The best way to avoid this risk is to use long randomly generated passwords, and use a different password for each account,” Lee added.

“You should also use software called a password manager to remember these passwords for you, and fill in the login boxes across all of your devices.”

Your IT Department was formed in 2009 and specialises in supporting businesses in the Midlands and across the UK.

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