Passwords are one of the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your computer and personal information. Many services and systems have been breached by hackers because of insecure and poorly administered passwords. Once a system is compromised, it is open to exploitation by other unwanted sources.
In 2016, Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s Quora account was hacked by OurMine, a hacker group famous for breaking into Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts. When even tech CEOs are vulnerable to cyberattacks, is anyone safe?
The answer is probably YES, but only if we follow a stringent password policy. A password policy is a set of rules designed to enhance computer security by encouraging users to employ strong passwords and use them properly.
Here are 8 easy tips to strengthen your password security:
- Use strong/unique passwords: The stronger the passwords you use, the harder it is for hackers to crack them. But what makes a strong password?
- Make it long
- Use a mix of characters such as symbols, numbers, both uppercase and lowercase letters
- Do not use sequential numbers or letters
- Do not use personal information &/or common words/patterns (e.g. 12345)
- Don’t Reuse Passwords: It’s easy to use same password on multiple accounts or websites but it’s very risky. As we don’t use same key for our car and house, we should never keep same passwords for our accounts or websites.
- Manage Your Passwords with a Tool: If you have trouble remembering multiple passwords, consider using a trusted password manager such as Dashlane, 1Password, and Keeper etc. Take some time to research the reviews and reputations of these services.
- Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): There are websites which gives extra layer of security such as OTP (one-time password) and 2-step verification. If you enable it, this will enhance your security by more than a username and password.
- Never Share Passwords: Hackers try to get personal information online by lying and convincing people to share their details. Never save passwords on devices or networks you do not control. You should always avoid visiting websites that require you to log in to your personal or financial account when using public Wi-Fi.
- Make use of Biometrics Authentication / Face Recognition: Nowadays, every smartphone has advanced fingerprint or face recognition security. If your phone has this feature, enable it. There are many ways to hack a password, but when it comes to biometrics or face recognition, nothing can beat it.
- Add a Recovery Email: Be prepared if someone hacks your password. Your recovery info such as mobile number or alternate email ID is used to help you in case unusual activity is detected in your account.
- Update Passwords Periodically: Your login passwords should be changed at least once a month. Using the same password for longer periods could put your information at risk if a data breach occurs.
Hackers could keep trying to crack your passwords no matter how strong you make them. Following the above mentioned practices will make it harder for them, thereby reducing the chances of your account getting hacked.