Your business’s security is only as good as the passwords protecting it.
If your company practices poor password hygiene, it’s easy for attackers to gain access to sensitive information, data, and even finances.
Creating strong, unique passwords is necessary for every account (business or personal) you set up. Using insecure passwords (like “password”) or using the same password for everything makes you and your business an easy target for identity theft and fraud.
Understanding how to create secure passwords could be what stops a cybercriminal from gaining access to your company’s data. Follow these tips for making a strong password and learn how to keep your passwords safe from cybercriminals.
Tips To Make Your Password As Strong As Possible
- Avoid Obvious Words Or Number Combinations
Passwords that are simple words can be cracked as quickly as a fraction of a millisecond. Hackers use a method called a “dictionary attack” that cycles through a list of words frequently used in passwords. Avoid using letter combinations that appear in the dictionary to better protect yourself from these types of attacks.
Commonly used number or letter combinations are also very easy to crack. Some examples include:
– qwerty (or other simple keyboard combinations)
Although these types of passwords are easy to remember, their simplicity makes them very easy for hackers to crack.
- Avoid Using Personal Information
When creating your password, avoid using personal information such as your name, address, relative’s names, or even pet’s names. This information is easily discoverable and can often be found on social media accounts or other places online.
- Make Your Password Long
A short password is easier to crack than a long one. Hackers use a “brute force” attack method that systematically checks character combinations until finding the right one. The longer your password is, the longer it will take for a hacker to crack it. Make sure your password is at least 8 characters long—the longer, the better.
- Use A Mix Of Uppercase & Lowercase Letters, Numbers, And Special Characters
Don’t use one type of character for your entire password. An all-lowercase password or all-numbers password is very easy for hackers to crack. Combine different cases of letters, numbers, and special characters (like @,%, #) to drastically strengthen your password. The more complicated your password is, the better.
- Make Your Password Obscure But Easy To Remember
Obscure or nonsense words are hard to crack because they don’t appear in a dictionary.
Think of a phrase or sentence that you can easily remember and take the first letter of each word to make an abbreviation. The result will be an obscure, random word that is much harder to crack than a dictionary word.
The phrase “I love my dog Charlie”
Could be turned into “ilmdc”
Once you have created the abbreviation, change the case of some letters and add the special characters and numbers.
For example: iLmdC93#
How To Keep Your Passwords Safe
Once you have created a strong password, there are several extra steps you should take to keep that password (and your personal information) safe.
- Use Security Software
A password, no matter how secure, can only protect your data if your device is protected from malware. Some types of malware use keyloggers or other methods to track keystrokes when you enter a password online. To keep your passwords safe, make sure you’re running security software on your device and updating it often.
- Change Your Password Often
With evolving technology and more intensive hacking techniques, the strength of a password gradually weakens over time—no matter how strong your password is. Change your password often, especially for highly sensitive accounts (like online banking or email).
- Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a security process that requires you to enter your password in addition to another factor to verify a login attempt. There are several different ways of providing this secondary factor, including:
– A fingerprint (such as on an iPhone)
– An authenticator app
– A second password or pin number
– A code sent via SMS
If two-factor authentication is offered on an account, be sure to set it up to enhance your security.
- Avoid Using The Same Passwords For Multiple Accounts
If your password is cracked or there is a security breach with one of your accounts, the last thing you want is for the attacker to gain access to every other account you own. Create unique passwords for every site to keep each account safe from attacks and breaches.
- Avoid Entering Passwords On Public Computers Or Public Wi-Fi Connections
Avoid entering passwords on public computers (such as those in libraries or hotel lobbies) or if your device is connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi network. These computers and networks are easy for hackers to attack because of poor security measures.
- Avoid Saving Your Passwords To Your Browser
Avoid saving passwords on your browser or other easily accessible locations. Write down password clues and keep them in a spot that isn’t close to your device, or use a password manager to store all of your passwords in one place.
Protect Yourself From Cybercriminals
Creating strong passwords for each of your online accounts is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from cybercriminals. By taking a few steps to increase your password security, you can lower your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud.
For help with any cyber security concerns, contact us today!