4 Helpful Tips For Keeping Your Passwords Secure
Individuals and organizations get hacked every day. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes it’s because the hacker is smart, and sometimes it’s because the users’ passwords are weak. Oftentimes, it’s both.
If you want to boost your protection against hackers, password security is paramount.
Here are four simple steps for ensuring that your accounts stay as protected as possible at all times:
Create Long, Unique Passwords
It’s crucial that you use a unique password on each of your online accounts. If you don’t do this, it could be easy for hackers to access a number of your accounts by cracking just one password. Cyberattackers actually count on you not taking this important step. A popular hacking approach called credential stuffing involves hackers trying your password across multiple sites to see how many of them they can successfully access.
Not only should all passwords be unique, they should also be long and complex. While a more complicated password doesn’t necessarily make it stronger, having a long password is the most important aspect. Experts recommend using passphrases in order to make the password longer, but also easier for you (and only you) to remember. The quirkier the phrase, the better. Substituting characters for certain letters can also help strengthen the password.
For instance, the absurd passphrase “dancing eggplants ate the cake” could be further bolstered by changing it to “d@nc!ng eggpl@nt$ 8 t#e c@ke.” While this does make the precise password more difficult to recall, it’s easier than picking a completely random password that’s 20+ characters long.
Keep it simple by using a memorable line from your favorite book, a special-to-you song title, or the name of your favorite film. This will ensure that the password is easy to recall, while retaining the length you need it to be for maximum security.
Use a Password Manager
A password manager is simply an online tool that helps remember your passwords for you. As well as logging all your passwords to make them easy for you to access, many popular password managers often tie into breach services such as HaveIBeenPwned and will notify you if your credentials have appeared in any known hacks.
Keep a Password Book
While password managers are pretty secure, some people prefer to keep a physical notepad for listing all their passwords. This is a perfectly acceptable practice, provided you make sure to keep it in a safe location and never take it out with you. In any case, a password book still beats using the same one or two passwords for every account you have.
For people who frequently travel, a password book is not an ideal option, especially if the book is stored alongside devices that could be easily lost or stolen.
Enable Two-Step Verification
Two-step verification or multi-factor authentication – when one or other means of authentication are required along with your password in order to access accounts – are among the best ways to keep your accounts secure. Some websites and apps – such as Apple’s Face ID and Touch ID on the iPhone – already have this type of verification built into them for security purposes.
Other authenticating tools, such as the Yubico YubiKey – a physical security key that you plug into your device – and the Authy app – which generates a code you can use in addition to your password – are other good options to try.
In addition to the tips provided above, there are other security measures you can take to further protect your accounts.
Always be wary of emails and texts claiming to be from a familiar service, such as a website or app you use frequently, especially if these messages are asking you to enter your credentials. These types of requests are almost always fraudulent. The sender – likely a hacker in sheep’s clothing – is probably attempting to gain access to your login and password.
Whenever you’re unsure about whether a request of this nature is legitimate, contact your IT department or IT service provider. Don’t compromise your security by careless actions online!
For more cybersecurity tips or to schedule a free IT assessment for your company, contact DataGroup Technologies or call us at 252.329.1382!