Our Flagship Product: Synapse

Our Support desk manage thousands of users for the apps, websites and portals that we’ve developed. A part of that is helping recover and reset passwords – and in that time we’ve heard some creative passwords! 

We’re all guilty of recycling passwords or choosing something that’s easy to remember over something that’s difficult to break into. Nevertheless, every year there are thousands of cases of preventable identity theft from easily guessed passwords.

A cybersecurity firm has released a list of the most hacked passwords from 2018. This list was gathered from millions of accounts that had experienced a hack. It’s thought that around 10% of people have used at least one of these passwords. There are some repeat offenders, with ‘123456’ and ‘password’ reaching the top two places for the fifth year in a row.

Take a look at the top 25 least secure passwords of 2018

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 123456789
  4. 12345678
  5. 12345
  6. 111111
  7. 1234567
  8. sunshine
  9. qwerty
  10. iloveyou
  11. princess
  12. admin
  13. welcome
  14. 666666
  15. abc123
  16. football
  17. 123123
  18. monkey
  19. 654321
  20. !@#$%^&*
  21. charlie
  22. aa123456
  23. donald
  24. password1
  25. qwerty123

If any of these passwords look familiar, it’s a good idea to rethink the passwords you use on a daily basis. This is especially true if you tend to use the same password across many sites, as one good guess from a hacker can lead to a breach that affects you significantly. At the very least, it’s vital that you choose a unique password for anything financial or that handles sensitive personal information.

To choose a strong password, try following our Support team’s Top Tips:

More characters equals more security

The best choice for a password is a long password. Many hackers use a dictionary based system, so combat this by combining two random words or misspelling them with numbers and special characters.

Stay unpredictable

There’s a reason that there are cliches about birthdays and first pets – this information is easier to find than you might think. The best thing to be when choosing a word to build your password around is unpredictable.

Don’t get into habits

We’re all creatures of habit. This is something that hackers love to take advantage of. They know that the password they’ve guessed for one site is likely to be used elsewhere, and will try to access other accounts with the same credentials. It’s best to change your passwords so that the same one isn’t used all over the internet.

Consider a password manager

Most people choose a repetitive, unsafe password for the simple reason that they know they won’t remember a different, complex password for every account they create. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to use a password manager that can help you keep track. You’ll be able to securely store your passwords in an encrypted program that does the remembering for you.

Your password is the first step to online security. With a weak password, or a one-size-fits-all solution, accounts are easy to break into. Following that, one data breach leads to many as the same password opens account after account. Nevertheless, a strong, secure password for every site seems like a big job. Remembering every special character and capital letter and what works for each site is a quick way to the ‘Forgot Password’ button.

Zinc Digital’s Service desk support a number of platforms, and with that many users it’s natural that we get a lot of calls about lost passwords.  

This is where a password manager comes in. It’s a piece of software on your computer that’s there to remember every password so that you don’t have to – no matter how complex. Depending on your needs, there are a lot of options on the market. Here’s what to look for in a good one:

Cost

As with any product, price is a factor for both sides. Most password managers have a good free offering, but you’re likely to be limited when it comes to the amount of passwords you can store or the number of devices you can use. If you’re only going to be logging in from one place, or just need to remember a few passwords, a free password manager will do just fine. Otherwise, pinpoint what you need from your password manager and choose one that gives you the best value for money when it comes to that service.

Encryption

The encryption is arguably the most important part of the password manager you choose. If this isn’t offering sufficient protection, all the extra features in the world aren’t worth it. There are several levels of encryption – make sure that yours is protected with AES standard encryption as a minimum. If you’re looking for the highest level of protection, go for AES 256 bit encryption.

Local or Cloud

Password managers vary regarding where they store their information. Some store the password locally on the device, and some are kept on the cloud. With local storage, you’re only able to store your passwords in one place, but a cloud storage solution is more vulnerable simply because it is in the public domain; although there will always be encryption in place. There is no right or wrong – it’s about what works for your needs. Some of the higher-quality password managers will do both, so you can decide what is kept where.

2 Factor Authentication

Any additional security in the place where you keep your passwords is priceless. 2 Factor Authentication confirms your identity with a second round of security checks, whether it’s a fingerprint scan, SMS, or pin. It’s a one-time measure on each device that will help keep your data even safer.

Password Importation

Inputting every password can become a mammoth task if you’ve got a lot and they’re stored all over. Some password managers can import your passwords in from your browser so that you don’t have to trawl through and input them individually. Some also come with autofill so that once your passwords are in, there’s no more searching.

Password managers come with a wealth of additional features – they could help you generate secure passwords in future, double up as a digital wallet to store your payment information and even digitally store secure data like birth certificates and passports. The most basic, most important feature however is security.

2018 has been an incredibly exciting year for everybody here at Zinc. In the past two years, we’ve experienced more growth than ever before, with lots of exciting new clients joining our books and bringing us plenty of projects to work on. As a result, we’ve welcomed a lot of new faces into the Zinc office to keep us delivering a great level of service.

Meet the newest members of the Zinc Digital team:

 

 

Sam Malloy – Product Architect

Our in-house CMS, Admin247, has been around almost as long as Zinc has. It’s had updates, improvements and additions over the years, but never a full overhaul. Sam has been working on both Admin and our incident reporting app Synapse to give them a whole new look and an even better experience for our users. He’s an expert in working with Angular, making him the perfect person to work behind the scenes on our products.

David Moorhouse – Head of Technical Services

With an ever-expanding technical team and plenty to do, we brought in David to help us keep us as efficient as possible. He joins us from a background as a Lead Business Analyst, supporting our busy team by applying his expertise in both technology and management to help keep the developers, support team and projects team communicating throughout. With his years of experience and his dedication to working to a client brief alongside the needs of the team, we’re excited to see where David will take our Technical Services Department.

Sandeep Jella – Lead Tester

Quality Assurance is a vital part of every technical project. It ensures that the end product has been put through its paces, working out every bug and making sure that everything does what it should do. With the amount of technical developments we’re now dealing with, a dedicated QA tester was at the top of our list. Sandeep is well versed in all types of testing, from UAT to GUI. With his skill set behind us, we’ll be able to continue to maintain a high level of quality throughout our development process.

Zinc is always on the lookout for talented people to join our team. If you’re interested in being  a part of a dynamic, innovative team, take a look at the careers page on our site today.

As a digital agency, Zinc build and host hundreds of websites each year. Hosting is, essentially, where your website is stored. The site is kept on a server, ready to be connected to when a user goes online to visit it. There are many options when it comes to hosting, but Zinc offer the two that suit the needs of our customers the most: shared cloud or dedicated cloud.

Zinc only host our sites on the cloud. This is because cloud hosting provides us with better flexibility, scalability, performance and pricing options that we can pass onto our customers. It’s important to us that the sites we host are easily backed up, and can be recovered in the unlikely event of a server failure. With cloud hosting, we’re able to offer you more security and stability than with other forms of hosting.

We’ll always discuss your needs and requirements with you, and make a recommendation based on our experience. We want to make sure that you understand the options available to you from Zinc, and can always make an informed decision.

 

Choose shared cloud hosting if:

You have one or two sites that aren’t expected to have high amounts of traffic

You are hoping to keep the costs down

 

Choose dedicated cloud hosting if:

Security is a priority

You’ll be taking up a lot of capacity

At Zinc, we’re experts in everything digital. Our hosting is designed to give our customers the highest level of service with minimal downtime. That’s why we always make sure to recommend the hosting solution that works with your needs.

To talk about what your businesses needs from its hosting, talk to the Zinc team today.

The cache is a local copy of the from a web page. Some of the text, images, and data from a site is stored to enable a quicker load time . It’s used by browsers to keep load times minimal, enabling pages to load without having to download all the information from scratch.

Clearing a browser cache deletes the data that your browser has stored on a website. This forces it to load a brand new version of the site, so that you can be sure that you’re seeing the most recent version.

Internet Explorer (9,10 & 11)

Click on the Gear icon and go to Tools > Safety > Delete browsing history

Make sure to uncheck Preserve Favorites website data and select both Temporary Internet Files and Cookies then Delete.

You will get a confirmation at the bottom of the window once it has successfully cleared your cache and cookies.

Exit and re-open your browser.

Safari

Go to Safari in your Menu Bar, then select Preferences > Privacy and choose Remove All Website Data.

Confirm it by clicking on Remove Now.

Exit and re-open your browser.

Firefox

Go to your Menu Bar and choose History > Clear Recent History. If your menu bar isn’t visible, hold Alt to make it visible.

In the box that appears, choose the date range you’d like to clear – for your whole cache you’ll need to select ‘Everything’. Check all of the boxes in the Details section to make sure that the entire cache is cleared.

Click Clear Now.

Exit and re-open your browser.

Chrome

Go the Menu in the top right hand corner of your browser.

Click on Settings, which will open a new tab.

Click on Advanced > Privacy and Security > Clear Browsing Data.

Choose the date range and data you’d like to delete, making sure that Cached images and files is checked before you click.

Exit and re-open your browser.

Edge

Go to the Menu (three dots in the top right hand corner)

Choose Settings and then Choose What To Clear beneath the Clear Browsing Data header.

Choose the data you’d like to delete and confirm by clicking Clear.

Exit and re-open your browser.

As a technology company, Zinc have always had to be proactive about data security. We’re currently working towards our ISO27001 accreditation, and advise hundreds of clients each month on how to keep their businesses secure.

Businesses carry an enormous amount of vital data, from information about your employees and operations to the clients that you have. It’s your responsibility as a company to protect this data.

Here’s what you need to know about protecting the data your company holds.

Your WiFi may be more vulnerable than you think

When a device connects to your company wifi, it has a connection to every other device on that network. In a business, these other devices are very likely to have sensitive data from both your company and your customers.

In order to protect your business from this kind of threat, a guest wifi is a good idea to ensure that the company data is isolated. This way, you have complete control over who is connecting to your network.

Generic passwords are everywhere

In the annual list from SplashData in which the most common passwords are named and shamed, ‘123456’ and ‘Password’ are still holding the top two spots. These passwords may be easy to remember, but they’re also incredibly easy to crack.

It’s best to choose a password that includes both upper and lower-case letters, as well as some special characters. We’d also recommend changing this password regularly, and varying it for different sites, so that one breach doesn’t lead to several.

Educate your employees

Almost two thirds of data breaches are caused by human error. By clicking on a suspicious link, downloading something they shouldn’t, or connecting their device to an untrustworthy network, employees expose their company to online threats. Education is the best security measure that can be taken here – many don’t realise the risk that they’re exposing their company to.

Keep your machines clean

It might seem like your machine is constantly suggesting updates, but this is for a very good reason. Often, these updates are a steady stream of patches for the security issues that have only just been discovered. If you don’t update, your software isn’t prepared to defend against risks that are now known to people who will want to take advantage of them.

Always keep a backup

Most companies have a contingency plan for disasters such as a data-centre outage or a physical problem, but it’s common to overlook a cyber-attack. It’s important to consistently backup your files to avoid any data loss. A regular backup is vital, but many companies don’t have one, or fail to store it in a safe place in preparation for an online attack.

Here at Zinc, we keep a daily backup so that we can restore everything we’ve been working on. This is stored on the cloud, so that it can be recovered in any event.

Zinc’s technology and support departments depend on good security measures. Make sure that your company is taking care of its data, and the data of your customers by speaking to our support team.

Pictures are a vital part of any web page, but they can become problematic when it’s time to add one to your site.

In many CMS systems, including Admin247, there is a maximum image size for uploads. This can become a problem when trying to upload high-res images that are often much larger than 2MB.

Similarly, headers, footers and site images often need to conform to specific size limits, to keep the site looking the way it should.  

Knowing how to crop or resize an image to suit your needs is a helpful skill. There is no default tool on Windows that allows you to do this easily. Although it’s possible to crop or resize using Preview on a Mac, the tool also has limitations.

For this reason, we recommend using picresize.com. This allows you to choose a maximum file size, as well as cropping to specifications such as a certain banner size.

For more tips from our Support team, follow the blog and our social media. To learn more about the support we offer, check out our Support page.

Zinc Digital has a dedicated support team that is always on hand to help our clients. We take hundreds of calls each week that span a whole range of topics, from questions regarding admin247 (our bespoke CMS) to the SSL certificates and hosting services we provide. 

A Hard Refresh is something we ask clients to do regularly. We often get calls about site amendments or pages that are not performing as they should. After the necessary changes have been made, we may ask you to visit the page to ensure that they are loading correctly.

Modern day browsers make a cache of information from each page to help it load quickly. This means that some changes may not be reflected, as the new information isn’t being loaded fully. This is why we ask for a hard refresh.

A hard refresh temporarily clears the cache for the specific page you’re looking at. This ensures that the browser will load the most recent version, and you should be able to see the changes made.

The keyboard shortcuts for a hard refresh change depending on what sort of computer you have. 

Windows

CTRL + R

Mac

⌘ Cmd + ⇧

The QuickTip series is written by the Zinc Support Team to help solve some of their most frequently asked questions.

For more information, or to find out about the support we offer, have a look at our support page.

At the Service Desk, one of the first things we often ask is what operating system you are using. We ask this because some issues are specific to certain system versions. When we try to replicate your issue, we need to know the age and version of your OS to do so.

Although you might know the kind of computer you’re working on, or the name of your OS, most people don’t know the version number. Luckily, it’s a simple process to find this information out.

Computer

 

Mac

Click the Apple menu at the top of your screen then click About this Mac. The version number is beneath the OS name

 

Windows

Windows 10 – Go to Start, enter ‘About your PC’, and then select ‘About your PC’. Look under PC for Edition to find out your version and edition of Windows.

Windows 8 – On the Start screen, type Computer, right-click on Computer, and click Properties. Then look under Windows edition for the version.

Windows 7 – Click Start, right click Computer then click Properties. Look in System to see the version number.

Windows Vista – Click Start, then click Control Panel->System and Maintenance->System.

Windows XP – Click Start -> RunType winver then click OK. If Windows prompts you to verify drivers, click No.

 

Linux

Open a terminal program (get to a command prompt) and type uname -a. This will give you your kernel version, but might not mention the distribution you’re running. To find out the distribution (e.g. Ubuntu) try lsb_release -a or cat /etc/release or cat /etc/issue or cat /proc/version

 

Mobile and Devices

iPhone/iPad

Go to Settings -> General -> About. Scroll down to look at version

Android Devices

Go to Settings -> System -> About Device -> Software

Here at our Service Desk, we receive hundreds of Service Requests each week. One of the most common reasons that clients contact us is for help making changes to their site, updating content or fixing minor issues.

At Zinc, we try to get these Service Requests solved as quickly and effectively as possible. We want to ensure our clients have the minimum amount of downtime, so to get things fixed quickly, we ask that you include some important information in your Service Request.

Here’s what we need to know from you to get a Service Request solved.

Where

The easier it is for us to find the issues, the quicker we can sort it out. When submitting your Service Request, always add in a URL to the page where you see the problem so that we can go straight there and see exactly what you mean.

What

When it comes to understanding the problem, there’s rarely such thing as too much detail. Describe what’s happening and anything you’ve tried yourself. If necessary, add screenshots for more clarity. That way, we don’t have to follow up with you to figure out the issue.

How

When it comes to site changes and content updates, it’s important for us to know exactly how you’d like your changes done. If you let us know exactly what you hope is done, we can either get things done easily, or discuss your options with you.

For more information on the Digital Support we offer at Zinc, click here

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