While passwords can protect our precious information, their ability to help us is limited by our ability to come up with a strong and memorable variation. Failure to create and use a secure, unique password can open your accounts up to password spraying.
A password is designed to protect our personal information and accounts, but how are the passwords that you are using making it easier for hackers to access your accounts? Our experts have analyzed numerous passwords and why they don’t fit the security criteria. Here are some actionable tips for you to easily increase the security levels on your accounts.
Avoid Common Passwords
If you’re still using the word password or a series of numbers like 123456 as your password, your account is at risk. Other common passwords include:
However, these aren’t the only types of obvious passwords. In the digital age of social media, obvious passwords such as street names, pet names, your birthday or the names of significant others are easily accessed with a small amount of research. Avoid using these common passwords to enhance the security of your accounts.
Tip: Avoid common passwords by implementing random characters such as capital letters, numbers and symbols together to create a unique password.
Change Your Passwords Periodically
Have you ever changed your passwords? Do you use the same password across all of your accounts and devices? In the event of your account becoming compromised, utilizing the same password across many years and platforms makes it easy for hackers to access your information.
Additionally, not changing password defaults immediately is a serious vulnerability that can compromise your system if not changed, as they tend to be the same across all systems and accounts. This lack of oversight can damage the security of a system.
Tip: Change your passwords quarterly for increased security, and use different password variations across your accounts to ensure that all of your accounts aren’t compromised in the event that one is.
Implement High-Level Security
With two-factor authentication (2FA) and biometric authentication becoming available for a variety of different devices and accounts, it is easier than ever to assure the security of your accounts.
2FA is the process of providing a secondary form of identification outside of your prototypical password, which could include:
- PIN number
- Secondary password
- Temporary code sent to your mobile number or email
- Biometric factor, such as fingerprint or voice print
- ATM card
Biometric authentication is the use of human factors protecting your account. Common types of biometric identifications include:
- Facial recognition
- Iris scans
- Vocal biometrics
Enhance Your PIN Security
While many devices are switching to biometric authentication, such as retina scan or fingerprint unlocking, traditional PINs are still used heavily on many devices.
So how secure is your PIN? While there are 10,000 different possible combinations, experts agree that users typically use predictable numerical passwords. Continued analysis shows that more than 10% of users have their PIN set as ‘1234’.
Tip: Change your PIN to something with varied digits – preferably something that is memorable without being easily researched, such as your birthdate, wedding date, or street number.
Use Password Managers
Many individuals are careless with how they are storing their passwords. While password storage is essential, especially when utilizing complicated passwords that vary across accounts, your account can just as easily be hacked if you aren’t appropriately managing your passwords.
Writing Down Passwords
One of the biggest contributors is writing down passwords next to where they will be used. For example, a sticky note on your computer with your password doesn’t do much to secure your system.
Tip: Accessing an account typically requires knowledge of the username, and the password are located. If you find it necessary to write down your passwords, documentation on this information should be stored in a secure place.
Saving All Passwords
While saving passwords to your browser’s keychain is an easy way to access them when you need them, it is also an easy way for hackers to access your account. Once they are in your system, they can easily use your browser to access all of the passwords that you’ve saved to your keychain.
Tip: Don’t save your passwords onto any accounts or devices that are publically accessible or easily accessed. If you find that auto population of password fields is necessary for you, consider using a password manager such as LastPass or KeyPass. These password managers work on desktops and phones, and are used to automatically store and generate strong passwords for all of your accounts. The best part? You only need one password to access your password .
Enhancing your passwords and login credentials by following these tips is essential to keeping your personal information secure and keeping hackers at bay. Remember to follow the security criteria when creating passwords and store them in a safe place – either where you keep all of your confidential documents or by using an online password manager. For more information on how you can improve your overall security stance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to one of our security professionals.