4 Ways To Tell If Your Passwords Are Too Weak (And 3 Ways To Fix Them)

Weak passwords are the cause of 4 out of every 5 data breaches – will your password lead to a breach at your business?

Passwords are as tricky to create and manage as they are vital to your daily life – both in and out of the office.

Passwords grant you access to your email accounts, your office systems, and programs, your banking information, your social media, etc.

Your life pretty much runs on passwords.

But are you aware of how important they really are?

Did you know, for instance, that 81% of data breaches in 2017 came down to stolen and/or weak passwords?

Different sites, apps, and programs have different requirements for what your password needs to have – minimum character length, capitalization, numbers, and symbols being the most common.

The idea here being the more complex a password is, the harder it is for a hacker to crack it.

The thing with passwords? We tend to use the same ones for multiple accounts (even though we know we shouldn’t), and your unique password isn’t always as unique as you think.

The Top 4 Password Mistakes You Can Make

Are you confident in your business’ security? Find out for sure by reviewing these common password mistakes:

  1. Length and Complexity
    Keep in mind that the easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to figure it out. That’s why short and simple passwords are so common – users worry about forgetting them, so they make them too easy to remember, which presents an easy target for hackers.
  2. Numbers, Case, and Symbols
    Another factor in the password’s complexity is whether or not it incorporates numbers, cases, and symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols in order to increase the complexity.
  3. Personal Information
    Many users assume that information specific to them will be more secure – the thinking, for example, is that your birthday is one of a 365 possible options in a calendar year, not to mention your birth year itself. The same methodology applies to your pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name, etc. However, given the ubiquity of social media, it’s not difficult for hackers to research a target through Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites to determine when they were born, information about their family, personal interests, etc.
  4. Pattern and Sequences
    Like the other common mistakes, many people use patterns as passwords in order to better remember them, but again, that makes the password really easy to guess. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty”, etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.

What Are The Top 3 Ways To Keep Your Passwords Strong and Safe?

Despite the fact that passwords are the most direct way to access a user’s private information, most passwords in use today are simply not strong or complex enough.

Passwords protect email accounts, banking information, private documents, administrator rights and more – and yet, user after user and business after business continues to make critical errors when it comes to choosing and protecting their passwords.

Keep these tips in mind when setting your passwords:

Password Strength
It’s common that passwords are required to include uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Consider using a passphrase—which is when you combine multiple words into one long string of characters—instead of a password. The extra length of a passphrase makes it harder to crack.

For a more secure passphrase, you’re encouraged to combine multiple unrelated words to create the phrase, for example, “goldielittlelamb3pigs.”

Password Managers
These programs store all of your passwords in one place, which is sometimes called a vault. Some programs can even make strong passwords for you and keep track of them all in one location, so then the only password or passphrase you have to remember is the one for your vault. The downside of using a password keeper program is if an attacker cracks your vault password, then he or she knows all of your passwords for all of your accounts. But many IT professionals agree, the benefit of a password keeper program far outweighs this risk. A little research on the Internet should help you find the reputable password keeper programs.

Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to existing system and account logins. 45% of polled businesses began using MFA in 2018, compared to 25% the year prior.

By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly-generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re better able to ensure that the person using your employee’s login credentials is actually who they say they are. Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, or even iris scans are also options, as are physical objects like keycards.

Like this article? Check out Inside The United States Of Cybersecurity, FBI Warns Businesses Of Cyber Attack From China, or Here’s How Cybercriminals Con Businesses In 2019 to learn more.

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