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By June 21, 2018March 3rd, 2020For Business
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Man holding phone with secure password

Secure Your Phone System With Strong Passwords

Hackers exploit weak security for fraud-related crime. Here are four ways to secure your phones.

Business phone systems not protected with strong passwords are an easy target for hackers—and it’s not just user privacy at stake. There can be costly financial consequences, too.

Hackers can exploit weak passwords to gain complete and unwanted access to phone systems, which they then use for identity theft and fraud crimes, including racking up exorbitant call charges and leaving businesses with the bill.

It’s important to remember that hacking doesn’t just involve websites, email accounts and social media networks. Phone systems are just as vulnerable. Hackers target small businesses just as much as large corporations, whether the motive is to benefit financially or to damage a company’s reputation.

Blue lock with secure password

Avoid Hacking with Better Passwords
To avoid falling victim to hacking, it’s crucial to secure your business phone systems with strong, unique passwords for each user and access point, including voice mail and your company’s web portal.

Here are a few best practices for stronger passwords:

1. Always Change Default Passwords
Often, phone systems come out of the box with stock passwords—a simple a string of zeros or a sequence of numbers such as 1-2-3-4-5-6. These passwords are easily hacked and they leave your business vulnerable if left unchanged.

2. Avoid the Obvious
Complex passwords that use a mix of capital and lowercase letters and special characters typically are the strongest. You should avoid using an address, birth date, phone numbers or any other personal information.

You can build a password that is not only difficult to hack but easy to remember. One way to do this is with a passphrase. Instead of a string of characters, your favorite sports team or your pet’s name, think of a sentence. Take the first letter from each word and string together your phrase, for example:

“In 2014, I saw ancient sites in Athens, Greece!” Here, you have a mix of capital letters, numbers and special characters to include in your passphrase. From this example, you get: I2014IsasiAG!—a strong password that is nearly impossible to hack.

In cases where you use numerical digits, such as for your voicemail inbox, avoid predictable patterns and number sequences. Go with random combinations and avoid using your office extension as your password.

You can test the strength of your password with this tool.

Notebook with three passwords and one highlighted in green
White screen with user sign in

3. Watch for System Updates
Take notice of prompts you receive from your phone system regarding password updates, and make sure new passwords are unique to each user and hard to guess.

4. Check Your Setup
Regularly check your recorded greeting. One common phone hacking scam involves the hacker entering a user’s voicemail by guessing the password and changing the recorded greeting to something like, “Yes, I accept the charges.” From there, a hacker can call that number from another phone, and place a collect call using that greeting, leaving a business to pick up the charges.

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