With so much of our real-world life being managed online these days, it seems we have an email and password for just about everything. From social media to utility bills to online banking, it’s understandable to want to use one memorable password across all your accounts – but while a simple password makes life easier for you, it can also make life easier for anyone looking to gain access to your accounts.
Why Do I Need a Strong Password?
Ultimately hackers are lazy, so they’re going to look for the easiest way into your systems. For many organisations, this is via the user access of the people in the business, since they only need to get passed one password. Sophisticated hackers even have tools they can use to break through them. But a strong, secure password can significantly slow down or even stop a variety of attack methods. Strong passwords are the first line of defence for your vital business systems, protecting them from attack hundreds of times a day.
Here are 5 top tips for making your password as strong as possible:
- The longer the better
The longer and more complex your password is, the longer it will take to hack! Passwords that are three characters long take less than a second to crack.
- Never use sequential characters
Do not use characters that are sequential on a keyboard such as numbers in order or the widely used “qwerty.”
- Include numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase
Randomly mix up symbols and numbers with letters because it is much harder for someone (or some programme) to guess. So, if you want your password to be ‘Santa Claus’, instead you could use ‘S4nt4@th3Cl4u$$’.
- Avoid using obvious personal information.
While it used to be common practice to use names and dates for passwords, the fact is that they are far too easy to guess – especially since we tend to share this information freely online. Instead, create a set of passwords that have nothing to do with personal information.
- Do not reuse passwords.
Following large scale hacks, compromised email addresses and passwords are often leaked online. If your account is compromised and you use this email address and password combination across multiple sites, your information can be easily used to get into any of these other accounts. Use unique passwords for everything.
Here are the Top 25 WORST passwords for 2018 (source – SplashData):
Storing Your Passwords
The next big issue is how do you store your passwords. After all, you’re using a different password for everything (you are, right?), so how could you possibly remember them all? Well, unless you have a photographic memory, you need to keep a record of them somewhere. The worst place for you to do this is on your computer. If someone steals your laptop or desktop, you will be handing them not only all your business and personal data, but the passwords to get to it as well. The simplest way around this is using a piece of password management software that keeps your passwords secure behind multiple walls of hard to crack security.
Watch this short video from ESET to find out how password managers work and why you need one.
At ACT Systems, we specialise in helping businesses understand their obligations and keep their systems secure. We can review your systems and provide comprehensive advice on all elements of password and IT security. For more information, just get in touch with the team today.