Password protection is the best place to start if you want to ramp up your cybersecurity. Because of the frequent use of passwords, people tend to overlook their significance and make careless mistakes, which could lead to breaches in security. This makes it imperative for businesses to devise strategies to educate employees about best practices when using passwords. With the business world heavily reliant on digitalization in this day and age, the use of technology in your organization is unavoidable. Although technology can undeniably give your business an advantage in increasingly competitive markets, there are many troublesome areas to keep an eye on. This is why interest in cybersecurity has risen in recent years.
Kicking off February 2024 is Change Your Password Day, a day that encourages technology users to update those old passwords to encourage cyber-safety. There’s a multitude of reasons to do this, but we have our favourites:
Reused Passwords: Many people use the same password across multiple accounts. If one of your accounts is compromised, attackers may try the same credentials on other platforms. Changing passwords (and using unique ones across each platform) reduces the risk associated with password reuse.
Employee Offboarding: In a work environment it is not uncommon for multiple users to use the same program. If you are unable to make individual accounts for team members with unique passwords, then changing passwords often helps to ensure that when a employee leaves the company they do not have unauthorized access to accounts and systems.
Security Breaches: Companies that store user data may experience security breaches. If a service you use is compromised, your login credentials could be exposed. Changing your password helps protect your account in case the old credentials are compromised.
6 Password “Don’ts”
Protect the confidentiality of your passwords by following these six password “don’ts”:
1. Don’t write passwords on sticky notes.
Although you may feel that writing down passwords improves password protection and makes it more difficult for someone to steal your passwords online, it can make it easier for someone to steal your passwords locally.
2. Don’t save passwords to your browser.
This is because web browsers are terrible at protecting passwords and other sensitive information like your name and credit card number. Web browsers can easily be compromised and a wide range of malware, browser extensions and software can extract sensitive data from them.
3. Don’t iterate your password (for example, PowerWalker1 to PowerWalker2)
Although this is a common practice among digital users, it is unlikely to protect against sophisticated cyberthreats. Hackers have become far too intelligent and can crack iterated passwords in the blink of an eye.
4. Don’t use the same password across multiple accounts.
If you do so, you are handing cybercriminals a golden opportunity to exploit all your accounts.
5. Don’t capitalize the first letter of your password to meet the “one capitalized letter” requirement.
Out of habit, most of us tend to capitalize the first letter of our passwords to conform with the “one capitalized letter” requirement. However, hackers are aware of this, making it easy for them to guess the capitalized letter’s position.
6. Don’t use “!” to conform with the symbol requirement.
However, if you must use it, don’t place it at the end of your password. Placing it anywhere else in the sequence makes your password more secure.
6 Passwords “Do’s”
Protect the confidentiality of your passwords by following these six password “do’s”:
1. Create long, phrase-based passwords that exchange letters for numbers and symbols.
For instance, if you choose “Honey, I shrunk the kids,” write it as “h0ney1$hrunkth3k!d$.” This makes your password harder for hackers to crack.
2. Change critical passwords every three months.
Passwords protecting sensitive data must be handled with caution because there is a lot at stake if they are compromised. If you use a password for a long time, hackers may have enough time to crack it. Therefore, make sure you change your critical passwords every three months.
3. Change less critical passwords every six months.
This necessitates determining which password is crucial and which is not. In any case, regardless of their criticality, changing your passwords every few months is a good practice.
4. Use multifactor authentication.
It’s your responsibility to do everything in your power to keep nefarious cybercriminals at bay. One of the best approaches is to barricade them with multiple layers of authentication.
5. Always use passwords that are longer than eight characters and include numbers, letters and symbols.
The more complicated things are for hackers, the better.
6. Use a password manager.
A password manager can relieve the burden of remembering a long list of passwords, freeing up time for more productive tasks.
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