Password—it’s something we should all take seriously but usually don’t.
Why is password security so important?
Passwords are something we deal with frequently in today’s modern life. We use them for our phones, our computers, for most websites, social media, and the list goes on and on. We understand the importance of passwords when it safeguards things like your credit card information, but we often overlook passwords’ importance for something simple such as our email. Just think about the vast amount of data that is passed through email every day.
How many times have you had to reset a critical password, such as a bank account – and found that the reset process followed a link sent to your email?
How can I protect myself?
Protecting yourself can start with creating secure, unique passwords that aren’t quickly identified from your life’s history or online presence.
It might seem convenient to use variants of names or birthdays – and many people do just that! The problem with doing this is that much of this information can be easily guessed by people who know you or can easily be discovered online. Many hacks are engineered either by criminal activity or some you know who have malicious intent. They can identify the typical combinations of passwords people use and are well-versed in looking up their potential victims’ details.
Keeping your passwords secure is vital to your digital safety, but it isn’t enough. It is best to have unique passwords for all of your websites, applications, and devices. That way, if one of your passwords is compromised, those perpetrating the hack don’t immediately gain access to all of your other information and accounts.
How can I remember all these passwords?
We have many passwords these days, and keeping them all unique and secure can be a lot to handle. One way to ensure your passwords are secure, unique and to keep track of your passwords is to use a password manager. Ducentis’s pass2me offering will allow you to keep your login information organized and safe while offering instant login capabilities.
What makes up a strong password?
A strong password will have a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols (as permitted) that do not directly use information about yourself. Each application or site will have its own rules for what is required, as well as what is permitted.
Some tips for creating a strong password:
• using longer passwords is always better than shorter ones;
• placing numbers and symbols at the start and in the middle of the password – not just at the end;
• don’t use sequential numbers as a password;
• use special characters supported (e.g., $, &, @, etc.) allowed by the site;
• don’t use “password” as a password;
• use a mix of character cases (upper and lower);
• don’t use dictionary words as passwords;
• don’t use your children’s or significant other’s names as a password
If a hacker targets me, how will different passwords stop them?
When we think about hackers, we typically aren’t thinking of angry exes or spiteful former coworkers. No, we tend to think about the profit-hungry cybercriminal who wants to steal your identity and money.
A hacker could be someone you know wanting to send inappropriate emails to your business colleagues impersonating you. They might take advantage of passwords that include family names and dates.
Hackers use many different methods to crack passwords.
• They can go through a list of millions of commonly used passwords called a dictionary attack.
• They can use brute force attacks that consist of trying every possible combination of numbers, letters, and special characters based on your password’s length.
• They can use a rainbow table, which compares the encrypted version of common passwords to yours to reveal your password.
Hackers have an increasing number of scary attack vectors, challenging the computer-enabled deferences we have installed. Adding two additional characters to your password can increase the time needed by a hacker to find your information from several months to two years or more!
Take control of your online identity and privacy and use some basic rules to stay safe. Passwords are the lock and key to your private information, and your passwords are only as strong as you make them.
Author: Scott Holzberger – Chief Technical Officer