Users often depend on passwords alone to secure their data, emails, social profiles, and more. Unfortunately, a blunder can quickly lead to a hefty disaster such as a data breach. Don’t rely on merely a password for ensuring data security – this technique is obsolete.
With the onset of the Dark Web, password risks have evolved, which is why it is imperative to upgrade your security and ensure tight password security to protect your sensitive data.
By leveraging simple passwords across various accounts, a reported 92% of digital users put all of their information at risk.
Here are some tips to reinforce your password protection:
Keep Your Passwords Long
Unauthorized users deploy various methods to break into your accounts and systems. The most rudimentary technique is to individually target you and manually type in numbers, symbols, and letters to guess your password.
Of course, the latest method is to use a “brute force attack.” This technique refers to computer programming that runs through every possible mix of numbers, symbols, and letters quickly to crack your password. But, of course, the more complex and longer your password is, the more time it takes to process.
Passwords that are three characters long require less than a second to guess. But with a complex enough password, it’s nearly impossible to crack through brute-force techniques. Therefore, to ensure password security, it‘is imperative to keep your passwords longer than three characters.
Include a Unique Phrase
Including random phrases and words in your passwords significantly increases their security and helps protect your data.
If your phrases aren’t in published literature, your letter combinations aren’t in the dictionary, and none of them are grammatically correct, it will be harder for hackers to crack.
In addition, don’t use sequential keyboard characters such as the commonly used “qwerty” or numbers in order (1,2,3,4).
Include Symbols, Numbers, Lowercase, and Uppercase Letters
Mix up numbers and symbols randomly with letters to come up with a unique password. For example, you could replace the letter O with a zero or use the character @ instead of A. Moreover, if you are using a phrase as your password, consider capitalizing the initial letter of every new word. This makes it easier for you to remember the passphrase while allowing you to strengthen your password security.
Avoid Using Recognizable Personal Info
Don’t use obvious information in your passwords that hackers can easily decipher—such as the date of your anniversary, birth date, city of birth, address, pets’ names, high school, etc. Anyone can find this info in your personnel file at the office or even on your social media accounts, making your password easier to crack.
Additionally, if you are required to select security questions/answers when creating online accounts, choose carefully. If you select questions that can be answered by someone browsing your social profiles, you might want to choose a new one to improveyour password security.
Leverage a Password Manager
About 13% of users use similar passwords for all devices and accounts. In order to create unique passwords, many use a password manager to strengthen their password security.
Password manager services auto-generate and save strong passwords. These PINs are stored in a centralized and encrypted location that you can access with a master password.Note that if you forget or lose that one master code, it’s bye-bye to all your credentials because there typically isn’t a way to get access another way.. Choose your password (and password manager) carefully.
Various services are free to use, offering optional features like syncing new passwords in multiple devices and assessing your password behavior to make sure that you aren’t using similar ones for too many accounts/locations–you might even find that your web browser or smartphone has these tools built in.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
It’s imperative to turn on two-factor authentication on all your accounts, specifically the sensitive and vulnerable ones, such as those for banks and investments.
This second security layer may be known as:
- Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
- Two-Step Authentication (2SA)
- Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
This additional layer of online protection thwarts unauthorized users’ access to your digital platforms.
The above are simple steps that will further fortify your cyber security across your most vulnerable accounts, such as your credit card, online banking, social media services, and email.
Passwords serve as the first line of defense for the individual user and corporate networks alike.
The stronger and more complex your password is, the more protected your accounts will be from malicious software and hackers. Therefore, be sure to maintain solid passwords for all your accounts.
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