Remember how naive we were in setting up some of the first passwords of our lives? We knew nothing about password hygiene, as cybercrime wasn’t a global issue back then. Even today, as much as 76% of the young generation don’t pay attention to password security, and that’s an alarming situation.
Not just this, but every 11 seconds, a business comes under the radar of cyber actors due to non-secure usernames and passwords. Thus, everyone should set unique and long passwords that are hard to guess and include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Let’s learn about more password security tips in this blog.
Is a Network Security Key the Same As a Password?
So, first things first, is a network security key the same as a password? Yes – both of them perform the same function. ISPs and manufacturers might use slightly different terms, so you may not know what you’re looking at even if you find the sticker on your router.
Why Is Password Security Important?
Password security is important as passwords are the first line of defence against data breaches, malware attacks, phishing, email spoofing, etc. Using strong, unique, and unguessable passwords prevent unauthorized access to your devices and accounts, which safeguards your company’s confidential details.
Research shows that two out of three people don’t have good password hygiene and reuse them across accounts. Not just this, one in three also share codes with others, and as much as 40% are hacked.
How Do Passwords Get Hacked?
Cybercriminals have adopted sophisticated ways to breach password security using one of the following techniques;
It’s a type of session-hijacking attack where threat actors use malicious programs to apply trial-and-error methods using all the words in a dictionary. They enter dictionary words as a password till they crack it. That’s why it’s ideal to use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters and avoid dictionary words.
Phishing is a social engineering scam that manipulates users into clicking malicious links or sharing sensitive details that are misused for fraudulent activities. They trick you into visiting fake or cloned websites where you submit personal details, thinking it’s a safe platform.
That’s why you should hover over a link without clicking on it to see the exact URL of the site at the bottom left corner of the screen. You should proceed only if you’re sure that you’ll be navigated to a safe website.
The email domains of reputed companies are often exploited to send fraudulent emails to potential victims. This can ruin your business reputation and even land you in litigation. However, email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC can stop threat actors from attempting this.
It’s another password-guessing method where cybercriminals enter passwords taken from an extensive list of frequently chosen passwords. Thus, a password strength meter and the usage of special characters make it challenging for hackers to crack your passwords.
In keylogging, malware is installed in your device that tracks your keystrokes as you type your password. Its success rate is much higher, and installing an antivirus can alert you of potential risks.
How To Create a Strong Password
Good password hygiene goes a long way. Here’s how you can create a strong password to keep your accounts safe.
- Don’t set guessable passwords— for example, your pet’s name, street name, birth date, nickname, etc.
- Include a combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Don’t repeat passwords across accounts. This will protect other accounts in case of a password breach.
- Avoid using full-length dictionary words. If you’re using one, combine it with numbers and special characters to make it complicated to crack using the dictionary attack technique.
7 Password Security Tips
Imagine how blunderous it can get if your company’s confidential details are leaked, and hackers misuse them to exploit your customers or make financial transactions! It’s scary, right?
That’s why you must take advantage of the following password security tips to protect all sensitive personal and official details.
- Use a Password Manager
You don’t have to remember the passwords of different accounts if you have a password manager. It also helps you generate strong and unique passwords for every access point, so there isn’t a cascading effect when hackers compromise each account.
Apart from enhancing password security, it also gives you fast access. You just have to type a single password, and all the access points will be automatically populated with a username and password.
- Create Strong and Unique Passwords
Creating strong and unique passwords for all the accounts minimizes the success rate of the trial-and-error method used for cracking passwords. Keep it long and include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Logging out of your email accounts when not in use is important to avoid the risk of someone messing with them. This should be practised even if it’s your personal device. It just takes a few seconds to log in again.
- Change Passwords Regularly
Changing passwords periodically reduces the risk of frequent access by hackers. They try to exploit your account more than once to steal confidential details or make transactions. Changing passwords makes it less likely that the passwords stolen by them will be useful for any length of time.
You should also change your password:
- After a security breach.
- When you suspect unauthorized access.
- If you spot malware or other phishing software.
- When you’ve shared access to accounts like Netflix, Instagram, Amazon, etc.
- If you’ve logged into your account using public Wi-Fi.
- If you haven’t logged in for a while.
- Activate Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
Multifactor authentication, or MFA, is a validation method used to verify an account owner’s identity. It adds an extra security layer apart from usernames and passwords. These are biometrics, OTPs, answers to security questions, emails with a confirmation code, etc.
It typically works like this- You enter your username and password, followed by another security action. So, even if hackers have your credentials, the secondary protection layers will bar them from accessing your accounts.
- Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a VPN; otherwise, malicious actors can steal your passwords to attempt fraudulent activities in your name.
- Don’t Share Passwords
Good password hygiene also includes not sharing your passwords with anyone, no matter how much you trust them. This way, someone can easily compromise your accounts and misuse the information gotten from there.
It can make you vulnerable to identity theft and cheating, despite all the firewalls being installed on your devices. Change your passwords immediately if you have to share them with someone for important tasks which couldn’t be done otherwise.
Password security is crucial to maintain the confidentiality of your official and personal data. So, you must set a strong password and use a password manager to make things easier and more secure. Also, log out of accounts when not in use, or else an unauthorized person can compromise them.