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3 Quick Facts on Why MediaManager’s Password Policy is Being Updated

Do you remember your very first password? Like most people, it was probably a very simple word or phrase you knew you’d remember. No special characters. No upper case letters. And if you are like me, you used that exact same password across any and all systems that required one.

In the past five years, password policies have come a long way. Nearly every online platform — from banking logins to social media accounts — requires users to create more complicated passwords and change them regularly.

In kind, Granicus recently announced that we’ll be updating our password policy for MediaManager users to align with security best practices (more info can be found here). This change will require our users to update their passwords in order to better protect their accounts from unauthorized access – whether from an internal threat or external hacking.

We understand it can feel a bit inconvenient. Some of you may be skeptical as to the actual vulnerability of your organization. Having worked for an organization that suffered a significant data breach, I can tell you that security for you and your users is not just a luxury. In 2013, I worked for Target when hackers stole names, emails and personal information of millions of Target guests. Target responded swiftly and I witnessed great change in their policies and procedures for further prevention. However, some of that damage simply can’t be undone.

Whether as a result of past business experience or as a consumer of digital platforms, our team shares the belief that a strong password is key to safeguarding these critical systems from security threats. Still have reservations? We ask you to consider these three facts that support a strong password policy:

FACT #1: 10,000 of the most common passwords (including “12345,” “qwerty” and “123456”) can access 98 percent of all accounts. – Source

Government is undoubtedly a target for cyber attacks, as many public sector organizations host some of the country’s most sensitive data – think medical information, retirement benefits and tax details.

There’s no doubt that security breaches are on the rise. I mentioned my experience, but other major brands like Facebook and Adobe face them regularly. When breaches go public, it’s clear why users’ information was so easily attainable – their passwords were likely among the most commonly used and insecure.

A password policy that requires a combination of letters, numbers and special characters are less likely to be compromised and used elsewhere. Protecting users and their sensitive data is as important to us as it is to you.

FACT #2: It would take a typical password cracking program 12 years, four months and 16 days to unscramble the random eight-character password “z7S69s@9.” – Source

When it comes to your password, there’s strength in numbers. With every added character, the chances of a hacker cracking the password is reduced. Security best practices recommend a minimum of 12 characters with a mix of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

Additionally, a strong password policy will require that you change that password every so often. In this update to Media Manager, we are asking that you update at least every 180 days. While it may take today’s hacking attempts a considerable amount of time to guess a strong password, machine learning programs are growing more prevalent and more advanced by the day. Account vulnerability is greatly reduced when passwords are updated several times per year.

FACT #3: 1 out of every 5 Americans has experienced online account compromise. – Source

In today’s digital environment, everyone is subject to their online accounts being compromised. The average person uses the same email address across 130 different accounts – think business, social, online retail, news subscriptions – this list can go on. This is a critical piece of information that hackers can guess easily.

The best way to protect your accounts, then, is to abide by strong password policies. This is why the Granicus MediaManager password policies will be updated – to help strengthen our ability to secure product access for our customers.

We are excited to bring you the rollout of our new password policy over the next few months. Stay tuned for more information about new training tools and for an updated timeframe from our team. In the meantime, we are available to answer your questions at any time at support@granicus.com. You can also learn more about the policy requirements on our Support Page.