Unseen Dangers: How Your Password Can Be Stolen Without You Knowing

Isn’t it a challenge to remember complex passwords? You might question the necessity of creating them. Most platforms are content if your password includes a symbol, number, or capital letter, or any combination thereof. “Ronan1997!” seems to fit the bill, right? But what if we add an extra symbol for good measure, “Ron@n1997!”? Seems complex enough, doesn’t it? However, if I were to use this password, a classic blend of my name, birth year, and a few symbols for good measure, I’d be in for a shock if my passwords were registered with Rock You in 2009…

The Incident

Rock You, a developer company that created Widgets for social media platforms like MySpace, suffered a massive breach in 2009. An ambitious hacker infiltrated their domain, compromising 32 million user accounts. But how did this occur?

The Missteps of Rock You (and Its Users)

While Rock You bears a significant portion of the blame, their users also made some critical mistakes. Rock You’s domain lacked an encrypted certificate, leading to passwords being outputted in cleartext format. This highlights the importance of encrypted certificates, which store passwords as strings, rendering them as indecipherable gibberish to any potential hackers. However, even encryption can be vulnerable if it’s weak, a point I’ll revisit later. Surprisingly, Rock You even emailed cleartext passwords to users who requested password recovery, a practice that would be unthinkable today.

As for the users, their downfall was the use of simple passwords, like the example I mentioned earlier. The leaked data revealed a plethora of common names and phrases used as passwords, such as “Princess1234567”, “RockYou4567”, “Nicole”, “BabyGirl”, and “monkey”. Moreover, Rock You didn’t allow users to include special characters in their passwords, which made the hackers’ job easier by narrowing down the pool of potential passwords.

The Hackers’ Advantage (and How They Could Exploit You Too!)

The hackers exploited a decade-old vulnerability in the SQL version the domain was running on, gaining access to the database. Since the database was in cleartext, they could freely test user accounts and passwords. The database also contained passwords for connected accounts on partner sites like Facebook and Myspace.

Even if Rock You had used encryption, hackers could potentially crack weak encryption. They can compare encrypted common phrases with the list of encrypted passwords obtained from the breach and deduce the rules used to create the passwords. Hackers often use powerful computers and botnets to cycle through all possible combinations.

The Importance of Strong Passwords

Hopefully, you now understand why complex passwords, though harder to remember, are crucial. They are less likely to appear on hackers’ lists of “common phrases” or “common passwords”. The accompanying video provides tips on creating strong passwords, such as using the first letters of each word in a movie quote and adding symbols and numbers as needed.

For further assistance or advice on setting secure passwords and other security measures for your business, feel free to contact our team at Affirm IT. You can reach us at 01157530123, email us at, or connect with us on LinkedIn!



Secure Your Business with our Top Antivirus Tips

Just as you wouldn’t ignore a health check, you shouldn’t ignore your antivirus software. It’s the health check for your computer, keeping it safe from the digital viruses that lurk in the corners of the internet. But how do you know if your antivirus is doing its job?

Checking Your Antivirus: The Green Tick of Approval

Just like a green tick on a health app, your antivirus software should show a green tick or similar symbol to indicate it’s protecting your system. It should also be receiving regular updates to keep up with the latest threats. It’s like updating your medical knowledge – you wouldn’t want your doctor to be using outdated information, would you?

License to Protect: Your Antivirus Passport

Your antivirus software should also have a valid license. It’s like a passport for your software, allowing it to do its job effectively. If your license is about to expire, it’s time to renew it.

“Password Protection: The Digital Lock on Your Door”

Just as you wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, you shouldn’t leave your antivirus unprotected. Make sure your antivirus settings are password protected. This prevents anyone from disabling your antivirus or changing your settings without your knowledge. It’s like having a lock on your door – it keeps the unwanted guests out.

“Affirm IT: Your Digital Health Partner”

At Affirm IT, we’re not just your IT experts, we’re your partners in digital health. We can help you understand your antivirus software, check its health, and ensure it’s doing its job effectively. We’re like the doctors for your computer, keeping it healthy and protected.

“Tailored IT Security: Your Personal Health Plan”

Whether you’re a small business looking for basic protection or a high-value enterprise in need of advanced security, we’re here to help. Understanding your antivirus software is the first step to managing your digital health. And remember, not every risk is a digital virus waiting to strike.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help secure your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team of four excellent IT professionals is never more than a phone call away. Whether it’s a faulty printer, a missing email, or server backup/restores, we’re here to support your business with both remote and onsite IT support.

We’re Cyber Essentials Certified and ready to help with your IT Security. Give us a call at 01157530123 or drop us an email at We’re looking forward to partnering with you to manage your IT risks effectively.



Supercharge Your Squad’s Efficiency with Microsoft Teams

Teams is, in our humble opinion, the best collaborative tool on the market for businesses right now!

Chit-chat Redefined

Think of Teams as Zoom after a double espresso shot! It’s not your Grandad’s email-based communication. Teams lets us fire off instant messages akin to popular apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, not just to our contacts but also to those outside our business.

The beauty of Teams is that it marries the best of both worlds. It integrates with a user’s Outlook client, allowing traditional email directories to send these messages. But here’s the kicker – the responses are instant and don’t end up in the Bermuda Triangle of junk folders and subfolders.

Teams can also buddy up with your Outlook calendar, transforming meetings into Team meetings. You can assign these to various teams and locations within your business, add a joinable meeting link, and then catapult this meeting into people’s calendars. But wait, there’s more!

Collaboration Unleashed

Within your Teams setup, you can create… you guessed it, Teams! You can control access to these Teams centrally through Office 365 group memberships, SharePoint access settings, or a central Teams administrative console in your 365 tenancy.

Within these Teams, you can do things like post updates, message your team, or even share a meme or GIF (because who doesn’t love a good GIF?). You can also kick off meetings within your teams, whether they’re spur-of-the-moment or scheduled.

This allows you to host video calls with your staff, and you can even jazz up these meetings by changing your webcam background (no need to reveal your chaotic office!). Don’t worry about note-taking; with participants’ consent, you can record these meetings and store them for later viewing. This segues us nicely into…

Continuity Uncovered

Here’s a little secret: Microsoft Teams’…Teams… are actually SharePoint sites in disguise! Within these sites, you can upload your business’ files and folders (including those meeting recordings), which are all stored in the cloud. Your staff can access these from anywhere, as long as they have the necessary permissions, have their OneDrive activated and signed in, and have Teams open.

If they click into the “Files” section in any Teams they have access to, they can view the files stored within that SharePoint Site. They can even work on Excel sheets and Word documents within the Teams app, with changes being applied in real-time.

One concern with all these files being in Microsoft’s cloud is potential data loss. But fear not, we at Affirm IT are here to subtly mention that we offer a comprehensive backup solution for your 365 enterprise.


As you can hopefully see, Teams is an incredibly potent, multi-layered tool that opens up a broad spectrum of possibilities for a centralized system of collaboration and communication within your business. If you’re interested in learning more about Teams and what it can do for you, or would like support with your existing Teams installation (maybe some backups!), then feel free to call us on 01157530123, or email us at



Understanding Essential IT Systems for Small Businesses: A Walkthrough by Affirm IT Services

So, you’ve invested in top-notch networking equipment for your small business. That’s fantastic! But do you know if it’s all working as it should?

Understanding Your UPS: A Small Business’s Lifeline

Let’s start with the UPS, the unsung hero of your IT setup. This hefty block powers all your servers and switches. Green lights? You’re in business! But if you hear beeping noises, it’s time to investigate. This could mean the UPS is running off the battery and isn’t receiving power.

Regular check-ups every 2-3 months can prevent unexpected power issues that could disrupt your business. Remember, as a small business, every minute of downtime can cost you. That’s where our IT support services can help, ensuring your IT setup is always up and running.

Modem Maintenance: Your Gateway to the World

Another crucial component of your network is the modem. If your internet connection goes down, try rebooting it! Simple fixes like this can often solve the problem. But if you’re still having trouble, our IT support team is ready to assist you.

Server Check: The Heart of Your Business

Your servers are the heart of your IT infrastructure. Make sure all power supplies are connected and check for network connectivity. It’s also crucial to monitor the health of your hard drives. Green lights are good, but a red or amber light could indicate a potential problem.

Remember, multiple disk failures could lead to irretrievable data loss. That’s a risk no small business can afford. Our IT support services can help you maintain your servers and safeguard your data.

Switches and Wireless Access Points: Connecting Your Business

Switches are the unsung heroes of your network, connecting servers to users. Green lights mean all systems go! And don’t forget about your wireless access points. These devices, often mounted on the wall, ensure a strong wireless signal across your site.

NAS Box: Your Data Safehouse

Last but not least, let’s talk about your NAS box, or network attached storage. This box of hard drives is another crucial component of your IT setup. Like your servers, you want to see green lights when you open it up. Red lights? Time to call in the IT support cavalry!

Need More Help?

If you need further advice on your networking equipment or have any other IT-related questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. At Affirm IT, we specialize in providing comprehensive IT support for small businesses in Heanor, Ripley, Ilkeston, and Eastwood.