He’s a regular cybersecurity engineer by day but a vigilante hacker by night. “Her password was simple, Dylan2791. Favourite artist and the year in which she was born, backwards,” Elliot says in the opening episode of US TV series Mr Robot. “His was the easiest to hack, password was 123456, then ‘seven’ spelled out.” Your password isn’t as simple as that, is it? In January, password management company SplashData trawled two million leaked logins from last year to find out which were used by the most people. Top of the list? “123456.” In second place, “password”.
In 11th place was “welcome”. Some people are just asking for trouble… None of my passwords have been as weak as these, but after watching Mr Robot I changed all of them. You might want to do the same, because your online security is under threat.
PwC’s 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey, which questioned 6,337 respondents in 115 countries, revealed that cybercrime was the second-most reported economic crime, affecting 32 per cent of organisations. To make matters worse, only 37 per cent have a cyber incidence response plan – they are simply not prepared for an attack.
As business travellers, we often handle sensitive information but also risk exposure in many more ways than the average person, and a strong password won’t necessarily be enough to protect against incursions.
Jacob Ginsberg, senior director of email encryption company Echoworx, says: “It’s likely that your home address, destination, length of time you’ll be away and preference for chicken or beef is all being passed back and forth online. Criminals are always looking for an open window and if an airline sends your flight confirmation details unencrypted, potentially sensitive information will be out in the open.”
Ben Paul, airlines and airport industry leader for PwC, agrees. “Airlines fundamentally are responsible for passenger information, passport information, a record of movement and a lot of other data that is being used to join up the customer journey. This is very useful information for external parties.” He adds: “Traditionally, airlines have had a very strong safety culture but what they probably aren’t prepared for is malicious cyber activity.”