Do you still remember the hacking incident involving the Ashley Madison website? According to an analysis made by security firm Avast Software, many of the website’s customers made a poor choice of passwords. The software maker examined at least 1 million out of the 36 million accounts that were hacked. Even if some of the accounts were stolen and released on the web, they have been encrypted as part of the security employed by Ashley Madison.
Using its latest code-cracking technology, Avast was able to gain access to at least 25,000 of the 1 million accounts because the passwords that were supposed to protect the accounts were weak. Passwords like midnight, secret and ginger are too obvious and 12345678 isdefinitely too lazy. If you want to protect your anonymity, use strong passwords. The whole sordid episode of Ashley Madison is a reminder not only for individuals but more especially for businesses and government networks.
On the other hand, the attacks against Ashley Madison have spurred rapid innovations among security software firms because a market opportunity has been created. Long established names like Avast and Unisys are rolling out new versions of their own security. Unisys, the hardware maker has its introduced Stealth which was originally designed for the US government market. Stealth is based a new security approach that is called micro-segmentation which seeks to wall off any malicious code that has infiltrated a network. Most of Unisys’ clients like chemical giant DuPont and Duro-Last Roofing are using the new security technology.
Avast’s latest technology makes use of machine learning in order to detect threats. Qualcomm which is the number one producer of smartphone chips is planning to integrate the technology in its latest Snapdragon processors. It would be a malware protection at chip level.
All these new approaches from Avast and Unisys are intended to limit the damages in the face of an attack instead of trying to keep hackers away. However, as software companies work to protect businesses and consumers, website users must also know how to protect themselves. To bolster a consumer’s online defense there are option in the form of better judgment, stronger passwords and two-step verification.