I’m not sure we need to tell you how important passwords are: they are the front-line defense to most of the accounts you create. What is often overlooked is the strategy of how to use a password to successfully protect accounts and data. Today, we will discuss best practices when creating and managing your passwords and how you are likely approaching your password strategy improperly.
Password Hygiene Tips
Creating Strong Passwords
It’s true that passwords can be a pain to manage. Anyone who has been locked out of an account because they can’t remember their password knows this all too well. That’s why it is important to create passwords that are both easy to remember and that are secure enough to protect you. Cybercriminals have tools at their disposal that do a pretty good job of being able to crack passwords, so you need to keep that in mind when you are choosing yours. If you feel you can’t remember your strong passwords, consider getting a password manager.
As you set out to create your passwords, you should keep the following two points of emphasis in mind.
- A hacker may try to brute force attack any password that cannot be guessed or cracked, rapidly trying each combination possible.
- A password’s security and its resistance to brute force attacks are two different things.
Brute force attacks can really be devastating, but when you create your passwords, you have to keep in mind that any hacker with the will to brute force your computing network and left with the time to complete their hack, will likely find a way into your network.
Typically we like to encourage that your passwords meet the following metrics:
- Are longer, typically over 16 characters
- Use a combination of numerals, letters (with upper and lower case characters), and symbols
- Don’t use privileged or personal information
- No common words or numbers
- No consecutive letters or numbers
So How Do You Optimize Your Password’s Effectiveness?
With those practices, you will be pretty far along, but you have to understand that the hacker’s tools are powerful. That’s why on top of those suggestions, you will also want to add some complexity to your passwords. Studies have shown that about 41 percent of all passwords are composed exclusively of lowercase letters. Therefore, along with adding symbols, varying cases, and numerals, one strategy is to use a passphrase of random words.
The reason for this is that, with a password that looks like this “7i&3RkIn&4L1f3” the chances that you remember it if you use the account sparingly is pretty low. Try to come up with intricate ways of typing statements that can be easily guessed, like taking three words that don’t have any natural connection, incorporating numbers and some varying capitalization, and padding either side with symbols.
Since you shouldn’t use the same password for multiple accounts, you will end up with dozens of passwords. Keeping them straight, especially over the long haul (as you will likely have to reset passwords from time to time), is difficult. That’s why we recommend using a password manager. Many people take advantage of the password-saving feature inside their browser. This is effective, but we recommend using a third-party manager that features encryption. This tool will be the most secure and reliable; and, you won’t have to worry about remembering every password.
Protect With Password Services
At COMPANYNAME, we consider cybersecurity and password hygiene one of the most important parts of a Tampa business’s IT strategy. Give us a call a PHONENUMBER and set up a free security audit to identify what gaps you have in your system and see how we can help you keep your IT assets safe. We provide the best Tampa IT Support to dozens of businesses in Florida, Kansas City, and more.