In today’s digitized world, your passwords are just as valuable as money, if not more so. Whether you need to carry out an online banking transaction or just log into your Twitter account, your passwords serve as your set of keys to the online world.
With troves of sensitive data and personal information hidden behind these passwords, the importance of keeping them out of the wrong hands is glaringly clear. Your credentials serve as a highly lucrative target for cybercriminals and hold immense monetary value.
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As per an article by CISO Mag, online banking credentials can fetch an average of $35 on the dark web. With cybercrimes growing at a rapid rate, it is becoming increasingly essential to keep your password safe from threat actors. So, here are some of the basic measures you can take to secure your password.
#1 Use Strong Passwords
The first and foremost way to keep your password safe is to ensure it is very strong, extremely complex, and impossible to guess. Sometimes, the strength of your password is just what stands between the hackers and your valuable data.
How Do You Create a Strong Password?
Here are some tips you can follow to create a strong password for all your online accounts and devices:
- Don’t use personal information: While creating a strong password, avoid using words, numbers, and phrases that can be found on public platforms. Don’t use any personal information like birthdays, pet names, anniversary dates, street addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers. All of this information is publicly available and can be easily accessed by hackers.
- Make it long and complex: The longer your password is, the more difficult it is for the hackers to crack it. While creating a password, use as many characters as possible. The strongest passwords consist of 15-30 characters. Make it a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters.
- Avoid using real words: Hackers use efficient password cracking tools to guess your password. These tools are capable of processing every word in the dictionary, as well as numbers and letter combinations until a match is found. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid using real words or proper nouns.
- Modify phrases that you can remember: Choose an easy-to-remember phrase and slightly modify it by using the first letter of each word and replacing certain letters with numbers. For example: “Prevention is Better Than Cure” could become “P1btC”.
#2 Don’t Use the Same Password
It gets more and more difficult to remember all the passwords, especially if you have dozens of different passwords for separate online accounts and email IDs. Instead of memorizing all the passwords, people usually take the easy way out by using the same password for multiple accounts.
Password duplication can effectively expose your information to prying eyes. If a hacker cracks your password, all the accounts secured with that password can be compromised quickly. So, whenever you create a new account or ID, pick safety over convenience and use a unique password.
#3 Don’t Share Your Password
There are some things that you should always keep to yourself and your password is the first thing on that list. Sharing your password with anyone is risky as it can lead to it falling in the wrong hands, whether intentionally or inadvertently. So, to keep your password safe, make sure you are the only one who knows it.
#4 Change Your Password Frequently
When it comes to keeping your password safe, it is considered good practice to change your passwords every 60-90 days. Using the same password for a long period can put your information at risk in case a data breach occurs. Also, make sure to change your password immediately in case you suspect that your current password or account has been compromised.
#5 Don’t Write Your Password Down
No matter how strong, complex, and long your password is, don’t ever write it down. To keep your password safe, avoid storing it in an excel file or writing it down on paper. Anyone can get a look at it, memorize it or misuse it. Either just memorize it or store it in a password manager to make sure it stays away from prying eyes.
#6 Enable Multi-factor Authentication
One of the most effective security measures you can take to keep threat actors away from your data is enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) across all of your accounts. MFA provides your accounts with an extra layer of security and makes sure only you can access your data.
MFA-enabled accounts require you to provide your password along with another form of verification like a code, fingerprints, or login confirmation. This makes it impossible for cybercriminals to get into your account even if they manage to crack your password. For this reason, it is advisable to enable multi-factor authentication across all your accounts.
Even if one of your employees is not using the best password practices, it could endanger your entire organization, putting it at risk of a data breach. In fact, according to the Bank of North Dakota, 81% of company data breaches are a result of weak password security. So, it’s time to provide your employees with cybersecurity awareness training, helping them understand the importance of following the best password practices.
Did we miss out on any important password safety tips? Leave a comment below!