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The one secret that hackers know and retailers don't

Last year 48 per cent of data breaches on retailers were caused by hackers, however these are not the matrix-esque fast-typing uber hackers you may be imagining.

The majority of the hacks were done by opportunistic hackers performing hacks that required very little knowledge and hacking ability.

The reason for the high hacking statistics is due to retailers not teaching their staff simple IT security best practices.

In this article, we discuss the one thing retailers need to do to significantly lower the chance of being hacked.

The Hacker Secret

Here's the secret, are you ready? System default settings offer little to no protection.

If a retailer installs a new piece of hardware or software and continues to use the default settings, these settings offer as much protection as someone who locks their house but leaves a huge sign showing what the key looks like.

Joe public would just look at the sign but someone with basic metalwork know-how would immediately know how to break in.

This concept is the same in technology such as PoS systems, the hardware and software default settings will block out the general public but not people with a little IT know how.

The Preventative Solution

It will come as no surprise that the solution is to change your default settings but often we change the default settings for everything to the same login and password, this is arguably more dangerous.

The solution is to use different passwords for all applications and hardware. Here are some tips for creating and remembering effective passwords.

Tip 1 : Memorable number with a twist

A common passcode people use is their birthday, it's easy to remember but a simple string of numbers means that a hacker could guess the password by running lots of number combinations (a brute force attack). Use words in your memorable number e.g. 25/12/december or first/1/twentythirteen

Tip 2 : Numbers that look like letters

Combining numbers and letters throws a spanner in the works for a brute force attack. Use a number that looks like a letter to incorporate an easy to remember password e.g. d3f4ult p4ssw0rd

Tip 3 : Slide to the left

This technique makes your password gibberish to anyone but you; simply slide all the letters of your password to the key left of it.

Using this technique "letmein" would become "kwrnwub", "openup" would become "iowbyo"

The Summary

It is important to remember that no password is unbreakable but you can make one that would take an incredibly long time to do so. is a webpage that will tell you how long the average desktop PC would take to break your password.

Using the Howsecureismypassword site: "25/12/december" would take 18 million years to crack and "d3f4ult p4ssw0rd" would take 55 billion years to crack.

With any password include a mixture of uppercase and numbers to add that extra level of protection. Any other ideas to create powerful easy to remember passwords? Post them in the comments section