Security patch and passwords defend against the Downadup worm

A complex computer worm has infected corporate networks and has affected more than 10 million computers this week, experts say. Infecting computers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, the Downadup worm – which focuses on Microsoft Windows – scans company networks trying to guess passwords in order to access corporate networks, experts found. If the password is guessed, the worm can then infect a computer and the entire network of servers it is connected to.

As a result, experts are calling for all computer users to install a patch from Microsoft and to use long, difficult passwords that cannot be deciphered.

The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends computer users employ the following password strategies:

  • Change your password NOW. Passwords should be changed approximately every 90 days. Take the time now to make your password more complex.
  • Passwords should have at least eight characters and include upper case (capital letters) and lowercase letters, numerals and symbols.
  • Avoid common words: It is reported that this worm uses a program that using a dictionary-type program to discover common passwords.
  • Don’t use personal information — name, children’s name, birthdates, etc. that someone might already know or easily obtain.
  • Use different passwords for each online account you access (or at least a variety of passwords).
  • If you must write down passwords, under no circumstances should you store them in a document on your computer. Keep them in a secure location away from your computer.

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