Obvious Computer Names are Easy Targets

Is your computer’s host name BILLING, OWNER, ADMINISTRATOR, or something like it? If so, your workstation is an easier target for hackers.

Technology changes daily – this means new viruses, malware, adware, spyware, and ransomware are released every single day, and are getting more intelligent as time goes on. These constant developments mean companies must work harder and smarter to ensure their business’s continued security, and the security of their clients.  

Hackers that design threats are always looking for the fastest route to infect your machine. Their goal is to cause as much damage as possible – all without being noticed.  

Certain areas of security can be overlooked and overused, making them a great spot for hackers to start…

We’ve spoken many times about the importance of using safe, secure, and unique passwords (read our post “Are You Using a Bad Password?” for a list of the top 20 worst passwords of 2018). Similarly, if your computer’s host name is too straightforward, this can cause major issues if a hacker gets onto your network. 

For example – if your machine is used for Billing, Administration, or other specific duties, it’s likely that your computer is named accordingly: BILLING, ACCOUNTING, ADMIN, DOCTOR, OWNER, etc. These machine names allow a network intruder an easy way to know what machines to target for the specific information they may be looking for. In fact, many hackers are now using special software to target obvious and over-used machine names.  

We recommend using computer naming conventions that are a lot less identifiable and won’t quickly give away the purpose of your computer. In our office and for our clients, we prefer to use a service tag to name a machine.  

Obviously, if you have an intruder on your network, you’ve already got a big problem. But this small and easy step can be invaluable in slowing down the intruder, and may even prompt them to move on to easier targets for their malicious activities. 

Give our office a call if you have any questions about keeping your business secure, or would like for us to edit your computer’s host names for you! Or, if you’re feeling really brave, we’ve outlined the steps to renaming your own computer’s host name.

How to Change Your Computer’s Host Name: 

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open a Run dialogue box.
  2. To the right of open, type in sysdm.cpl and hit Ok.
  3. From here you will see a System Properties windows pop-up and can click on Change.  
  4. After doing so, rename the computer to something less identifiable (such as a service tag).  
  5. Then hit Ok, and ok again to confirm the change.  
  6. You’ll press Ok to close out of the System Properties window which should prompt you to reboot for the changes to take effect.  
  7. Upon your system coming back up, make sure to go into System Properties to ensure the changes took effect. 

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