Why strong passwords matter
Passwords and passwords...
The average business employee must keep track of 191 passwords (just asked Google and he says so :) ). Obviously it’s hard if not impossible to remember that many and not everyone is using a password manager so unfortunately many chose to reuse their passwords with multiple accounts. This significantly increases the cyber-security risk considering that the vast majority of data breaches happen due to passwords.
The passwords came to life with the goal to protect users and their data so that the curious eyes do not see what they do not need to see.
From no password to password
In the 1960s, Fernando Corbato invented the first computer password and these days everyone uses a form of password to protect their personal information, financial or professional or simply not share with the whole world what they have to say to a restricted group of friends in a private conversation.
Just as the complexity of passwords changed over the years to attempt to protect us better, the cyberattacks and ways of stealing personal information have changed as well. We have made tremendous progress having password management, two factor authentication and increased cyber security procedures and policies but probably for a long time from now we'll still need the old good passwords to manage some of our accounts being email, social media, gaming platforms, bank accounts, services accounts.
Sometimes we’re out of ideas and we use over and over the same passwords although we know we shouldn’t. Other times we use information that is easily accessible to others (on social media or common knowledge like the name of our pet, our birthday, our family members name or favorite holiday place). For those targeting us, it’s very simple to hack our accounts if that’s the case.
To help those in need, we’ve built this simple password generator app, just select the complexity you wish to have and the length of the password and we’ll get you one in a second.
If on the other hand you prefer to setup your passwords by yourself, let us remind you six tips for safeguarding your accounts:
1. Use a longer and more complex password
We are all used to putting a 4 digit password, not to mention that many times that would be a super common combination like 1234, 0000, 1111. Nothing more dangerous than that! It's almost like one would have a password protected computer, locked and in plain sight add a huge Post It saying with capital letters ‘The password for this computer is 1234, please log in and steal my important data!’Fun fact or not?
Weak passwords have consistently been proven to be the number one reason for the most successful cybersecurity breaches. In 2019, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported that the most common password hacked was “123456” and this password was recurring in more than 23 million records breached! How many people really don’t do any effort to protect their accounts, pretty surprising isn’t it?
The second worst thing one could do is to add as password his birthdate. Typically this information is easily accessible these days where we post on eachothers social media pages birthday wishes or we even freely publish that for anyone to obtain.
Moving from 4 characters to 8 or more significantly decreases the risk especially when associated with non publicly available information that would be harder to guess even by someone who knows you well enough.
If you must use one though ensure that the digits are not the obvious ones and if possible use letters and special characters.
2. Do not reuse passwords for multiple accounts
Shared passwords are a definite No-No. Be it for so called not important accounts or important ones you should never reuse passwords. Many times people log-in into services (food deliveries, taxi services) with the same password they would do to log-in to their online banking application or personal or business accounts without realising what a huge risk they are exposing themselves to. It is not very complicated for a third party to identify accounts on multiple platforms for the same user especially when using the same email address to authenticate, or there are links between the platforms that would allow identifying the person owning them. From that to log-in into other accounts if one password of one account was compromised is just a click
3. Don’t store your passwords online
Not an easy thing to do, remembering your passwords but never ever store them online especially in a not very secure environment (without a strong password or two factor authentication setup). Why, would you ask?
Well, just imagine the place you store them is accessed by someone (and obviously when you store the passwords you might store them as full credentials) so you would expose yourself to significant risk.
4. Change your passwords at least every 3 months
Updating account passwords as often as possible is key to securing your accounts. Hackers would attempt over a significant period of time accessing accounts by running malicious software and tactics and could be successful in their attempt but lacking any information to use (example someone hacked into your email account but found no ‘useful’ information). Be sure they will check the account and monitor for any new information that might be used to their advantage. If you however change the password they will not be able to re-access your account with the same credentials and might take time to hack it again if ever! Of course, good practice is also to change passwords significantly, so not use a digit difference when changing it often as the risk of someone trying combinations of the previous password to hack your account are pretty high.
5. Use a password manager if you can
We’d love for you to use our password generator application but we need to be honest with you, these days the password manager applications are one of the key solutions to reduce cyber-security risks. The applications use complex algorithms that make the hacking at least every difficult if not almost impossible. Especially for people using many accounts, remember nowadays a business user has on average 191 passwords to manage, using such a powerful tool is a great way to stay protected.
6. Use multi factor authentication where possible
Along with the password manager solutions, using a two factor authentication model are the top two solutions for staying protected from malicious attacks. If you don’t know what this is, it’s as simple as using more than one security configuration to connect to an account. For example, two factor authentication for your email would mean that in the first instance you type in your username and password and you also receive an SMS with the one-time generated password that you must enter before you can access your mailbox.
It is very useful as it also notifies when an unknown device is connected to your account and real-time you are notified and can disconnect the given device should you identify it’s someone else.
Many applications these days, use thumbprints or two factor authentication as it is easy to use; it counts on unique information to allow one to connect and it is definitely not easy to be compromised by hackers.
Hope you liked and found useful our quick tips for account security. Be always one step ahead and don’t forget there is no better way to stay safe than using a strong password and never share it with anyone!