There is a security epidemic! Why? Because of a lack of encryption.
Plaintext passwords are not only highly vulnerable to password hacks, but they also open the door for other cybercrimes such as data breaches. Studies have shown that most people tend to use passwords that are simple and easily guessable. Unfortunately, this increases the possibility of getting hacked, especially on public devices like computers and smartphones.
How secure are your passwords?
You probably do not know and that makes you vulnerable. If some hacker gets hold of your password to your iCloud account, or Facebook account, or any other online account, then they can potentially wreak havoc on your life. A good password is like a combination of a safe that only you know how to open. A solid password should be at least 12 characters long and include numbers, letters and special characters.
Passwords are the first line of defence for securing your data. And consumers have been conditioned to prioritize convenience over security when creating their passwords. It has become second nature for most of us to use “123456” or “password,” when setting up a new account with any online service. Passwords like these are trivial to break with the latest hardware and software resources.
For years, password security has been the hackneyed topic for big-name brands, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn users. One of the ugly sides of internet security is that passwords are still an important tool of authentication. And as long as passwords are here to stay and likely to be used for a long time yet, let’s try to make them more secure:
- Passphrases are much harder to crack than passwords : Instead of using a hodgepodge of passwords with various degrees of strength, use pass-phrases so you don’t have to remember 100+ different passwords. In addition, passphrases are harder to be cracked using brute force guessing.
- Passwords should never be shared: Applications like Skype, email, text messages or any medium for that matter are liable to be insecure. It might seem convenient to pass around passwords, but this is a very insecure practice and can give hackers access to your organization’s network and computer.
- Never store all your passphrases on one device: Use “diversification” and “dilution” to save yourself from the risk of being hacked. Ensuring absolute safety of your data can be accomplished if diversification method is used i.e avoid using same passwords every time, choose a good password manager that works for you, set expiration dates on passwords so that you’ll be notified when to change them and use safe websites.
- Install a Password Manager: We all use the same username and password for every website we visit, every ecommerce site, and probably even some apps too. This means that if your data is leaked by one of these sites, any hacker with a brain can access any other account you have. Password managers store all your login info in one safe place which can only be accessed with a master password. This means you don’t have to remember what you need to log in to each site you could need access to. It makes the complex passwords required by websites much easier to remember and use. Not only do they provide security but they enable fast logins, which saves time.
Note: Ensure to use the manager with strong encryption or configure its login with a biometric authentication instead of a master password.
- PAO Method / Person-Action-Object System: Construct your password with Person (“Any Random Name”), Action (type of action used to encrypt the information), and Object (the item being protected) to help you generate more random passwords. With PAO, having a pseudo-story of your password will help you remember it longer than other types of passwords. This method was recommended by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.
- Other Methods include:
- Use effective antivirus software to protect your device from any malware: The Best Antivirus Protection for 2021
- Don’t use any sensitive information in your password that can be used to locate you.: school, your name, address, birth date, and phone number, etc.
- Use a random password generator for different accounts: Never reuse passwords for multiple accounts on multiple websites: It doesn’t matter if it’s an e-mail account or your cloud storage login. Using one password for all your online accounts is like having a safe with a big hole in it, where you are keeping all your passwords, that can be easily broken into. And you don’t even have to be a hacker, it can be done by anyone who has access to the internet.
It’s no secret that your password is probably not the end-all. It’s notoriously hard to pick passwords. You want them to be lengthy, but easy to remember. Unique, but not too random (that makes it easier for hackers trying to brute-force their way into your accounts). You don’t want to reuse the same password across sites. And yet often you end up doing exactly that when you realize how difficult it is to come up with unique passwords for all your sites.
It is not uncommon for most people to use weak passwords — even people who claim they are tech-savvy. But password creation is a fairly easy thing to improve, and it is well worth the time spent making better passwords for your accounts before you start worrying about improving the ones for your business. After all, you want your online accounts to be just as secure as your physical home.