Are Weak And Repeated Passwords Putting You At Risk?
Passwords protect email accounts, banking information, private documents, administrator rights, and more – and yet, user after user continues to make critical errors when it comes to choosing, protecting and managing their passwords.
If you haven’t yet, you will, at some point, probably get a spam email that says it’s holding your password at ransom. While it may seem like a hoax, there’s a chance it’s legit.
Say a site you’ve signed up for and made purchases from, or planned to make purchases from, gets hacked. That info is then sold on the dark web, and hackers use it to hold users at ransom.
Even though passwords are the most direct way to access a user’s private information, most passwords in use today are not considered to be strong or sophisticated enough – and even if they are, they aren’t updated often enough.
Does that sound familiar to you?
2 Ways To Improve Your Password Security
- Use Complex Passwords. Don’t be one of the 23 million account holders still using “123456”. Follow these guidelines to make sure your passwords are strong:
- Length and Complexity: Keep in mind that the easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to figure it out. That’s why short and simple passwords are so common – users worry about forgetting them, so they make them too easy to remember, which presents an easy target for hackers.
- Numbers, Case, and Symbols: Another factor in the password’s complexity is whether or not it incorporates numbers, cases, and symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s essential to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols to increase the complexity.
- Pattern and Sequences: Like the other common mistakes, many people use patterns as passwords to remember them better. Still, again, that makes the password easy to guess. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty,” etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.
- Manage Your Passwords: You don’t have to worry about remembering complex passwords so long as you manage them properly:
- Update Your Passwords When Necessary: Complex passwords should be set and only changed in the event of an identified threat.
- Use A Password Manager: A password manager generates, keeps track of, and retrieves complex and long passwords for you to protect your vital online information.
It also remembers your PINS, credit card numbers, and three-digit CVV codes if you choose this option. Plus, it provides answers to security questions for you. All of this is done with strong encryption that makes it difficult for hackers to decipher.
- Implement MFA: Multi-Factor Authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the existing system and account logins. By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly-generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re better able to ensure that the person using your employee’s login credentials is actually who they say they are. Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, or even iris scans are also options, as are physical objects like keycards.
In the end, creating, updating, and managing strong passwords can be frustrating, but it’s incredibly important. Privacy and security are significant concerns for personal users and businesses alike these days. So users have to be sure that they aren’t making it easy for hackers to access their private data.
As you can see, managing passwords can be a complicated and time-consuming task, and that’s just one aspect of effective cybersecurity defense. You don’t have to handle it all on your own – the Advantage Industries team of cybersecurity experts is available to help you make sure you have the best solutions and processes in place to keep your business secure. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.
Advantage Industries is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) providing practical networking and software solutions, as well as web site and application creation services. For nearly two decades, Advantage has worked collaboratively with hundreds of clients in understanding complex business processes, identifying needs, and providing recommendations tied with sound technology solutions custom-tailored to their business.