Recent Evernote Hack Raises Cloud Security Concerns Among Real Estate Agents

Among the top security concerns of real estate agents is security in the cloud. When dealing with sensitive information, it's important that the data is kept safe. When Evernote was recently hacked this forced over 50 million users’ passwords to be changed. This hack joined a rising number of recent incidents that have included such large corporations as Dropbox, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. For real estate agents, this hack means that strong security measures must be implemented and maintained for complete data protection.

Password strength can determine level of cloud security

You may be surprised that sitting atop the top 25 worst passwords of 2012 is the weakest password of all, "password" and it is still the most commonly used password.

When choosing a strong password, any password on this list is to be avoided, as well as any passowrds on other most commonly used password lists, even up to the 10,000 most common password list. A recent study showed that 91% of all internet users have a password that appears within the top 1000 most common passwords. As there are now computers that can process 348 billion passwords per second, a top 1000 password will not take very long to crack. Another list that can be used as an example of passwords not to use is the list of passwords that Twitter found to be too common and banned them from the service. If you have concerns about your password strength, it can be found at This site can also tell you how long it would take a desktop PC  to crack it.

Creating a secure password

In this analysis by Troy Hunt on the science of password selection, a more in-depth look at how the common internet user creates a password is explored. As can be reasonably determined, longer passwords are harder to crack as it takes longer for  desktop computers to process the number of possible passwords before reaching the real password. The truth is, it’s much better to have a long password that you can remember than a shorter password that can be hacked by a powerful computer.

SplashData offers these tips for the creation of secure passwords:

  • Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters. One way to create longer, more secure passwords that are easy to remember is to use short words with spaces or other characters separating them. For example, “eat cake at 8!” or “car_park_city?”

  • Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites. Especially risky is using the same password for entertainment sites that you do for online email, social networking, and financial services. Use different passwords for each new website or service you sign up for.

  • Having trouble remembering all those different passwords? Try using a password manager application such as 1Password that organizes and protects passwords and can automatically log you into websites. The downside is that using a password manager isn't always possible and it isn't always practical either.

How to enable 2-factor authentication if it's available

Some cloud storage providers such as Google Drive and Dropbox offer extra security measures such as 2-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a measure which requires the presentation of a minimum of two out of the three authentication factors:

a knowledge factor ("something the user knows"),

a possession factor ("something the user has"),

and an inherence factor ("something the user is").

Here is how it works: Once you enter your password as you normally would, a code is sent to your mobile phone or an app that you have previously approved to be used for this purpose. As soon as the code comes through, you enter it and can access the account.

How does this protect your data?

If your password is accessed by hackers (keylogger, sniffer, steals your laptop, etc.), they will still be unable to access your account because they will need your mobile phone to complete the secondary authentication. Strong password creation and keeping your passwords secure help prevent any unauthorized access to your data and this is important since, as a real estate agent, a lot of your data is confidential and needs to be protected. The 2-factor authentication measure handles this in the majority of situations, keeping your data secure.

Dropbox 2-factor authentication setup instructions:

Google Drive and other Google services setup instructions:

How to protect your cloud data with a secure backup from cloudHQ

Weak password creations and other poor security measures contribute to the majority of unauthorized accesses. Unfortunately, even with the best security measures in place, circumstances can still happen- for instance, if a hacker steals your laptop and your mobile phone, he will then be able to bypass the secondary 2-factor authentication measure. If the hacker deletes your data, this can be a huge blow to a real estate agent with multiple transactions and contracts stored in the cloud. This data doesn’t have to be lost, it can be securely backed up with one of the leading cloud storage backup services such as cloudHQ.

CloudHQ provides a secure backup of all of your data. The replication process is automatic and operates silently in the background, invisible to the user. It is continuous replication which means it automatically updates in real-time as changes are made to data, so you never have to worry about losing any data.

Let's use an example. You have anEvernote account and want to use cloudHQ to protect your Evernote data. You simply create two Evernote accounts. One is your primary Evernote account and the other is your backup account. CloudHQ provides a continuous replication of all data from the primary Evernote account to the secondary Evernote account. If a hacker gains access to your primary account and deletes your data (including from Evernote trash), the backup account will still hold a complete second copy of all of your data.

Strong passwords and security measures are usually enough to keep your data safe from unauthorized access. But if it does fail, the results can be devastating. You can keep access to your data at all times by utilizing the superior backup methods of cloudHQ.

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