The cyber security risks posed by weak computer passwords will be highlighted at a free IT workshop in Inverness next week.

Four passwords relating to the Highland capital and its surrounding area feature on a list of the 100,000 passwords most commonly found in data breaches.  They are ‘Inverness’, ‘Loch Ness’, ‘Nessie’ and ‘monster’, illustrating how Invernessians could be putting themselves at risk by using weak passwords.  The list was released recently in conjunction with the first UK cyber survey published by the National Cyber Security Centre, the UK’s independent authority on cyber security.

North-east IT company Converged Communication Solutions, which has an office in the Highland capital, is organising the free event.  It is inviting businesses, charities and organisations to attend to learn how strong passwords can provide a first line of defence against cyber attacks and what other steps they can take to better protect themselves and their organisations online.

Taking place on Tuesday morning [May, 14 2019] at Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) An Lochran offices, the workshop is being held in partnership with HIE and CeeD, the Centre for Engineering Education and Development.  CeeD is a national group of businesses and academics focused on improving operational efficiency in business.

Attendees will learn about the main cyber threats that organisations of all sizes currently face, including phishing, ransomware attacks and insider threats, which can include unintentional threats that create opportunities which hackers can exploit.  Cyber security experts from Converged will advise delegates on ways to mitigate risks by using more secure processes and procedures.  This will include the technical – relating to hardware and software – and non-technical steps that organisations can implement quickly in order to improve cyber security.

Those attending Tuesday’s workshop will also be introduced to the UK government-backed Cyber Essentials programme which is designed to protect organisations from a range of common online threats, illustrating their commitment to cyber security.

Gerry Grant, chief security officer at Converged, said: “Poor cyber security practices pose a massive risk to organisations of all sizes.  Even if a business or charity doesn’t believe that they are a potential target, you can be certain that someone, somewhere will be trying to access their computer systems.  It is important that every organisation understands the threats they currently face and the ways in which they can protect themselves.

“Creating strong passwords is a good first line of defence.  Using three random words to build a passphrase can help to improve cyber security.  Weak passwords do not only affect home users.  If applied in the business environment, as evidence suggests, ineffective passwords can put whole livelihoods at risk.  Our free workshop in Inverness will provide attendees with a better knowledge and understanding of cyber threats and equip them with simple steps they can take to make their business or organisation more digitally secure.”


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