With more and more information being kept on the internet, it’s becoming increasingly important to secure your accounts as well as devices. 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.
Despite the increased public importance placed on data security, there’s a large portion of the global population using weak password to secure their professional and personal accounts. Hackers are becoming increasingly adept at figuring out login credentials, thanks to fast and powerful computers running software that can crack encrypted passwords by guessing millions of variations per second. So, weak passwords put personal information at risk. However, several people use the same bad passwords for multiple accounts, which means if one gets compromised others could also fall.
So, how to create a strong password, you may ask. Follow these simple tips:
- Don’t include personal information in your passwords: Many users incorporate personal information into their password to help them remember. It’s no trouble for a hacker to find out your full name, date of birth, partner’s name, pet’s name, etc. This type of information should never be used in your passwords.
- Go the ‘alphanumeric’ way: An alphanumeric password contains numbers, letters, and special characters. They are harder to crack than those containing just letters. The more diverse your characters are, the more complex it is, and the longer it would take to crack for hackers. Also, include a mixture of upper and lower case letters.
- Use a password manager: Do not store your passwords in a document on your computer. Make sure you’re using the password manager tool. It’s basically an app on your phone, tablet, or computer that stores your passwords, so you don’t need to remember them. Once you’ve logged into the password manager using a master’ password, it will generate and remember your passwords for all your online accounts in an encrypted manner. Also Read: Yes, ‘Password Managers’ are safe. Here’s all you need to know
- Encrypt stored passwords: Password encryption can prevent attackers from viewing saved credentials stored on a server. During the process of encryption, the password is being translated into a cipher text – a string of random numbers, letters and symbols that is impossible to read without having a key to unlock the cipher. The key belongs only to the owner and is generated from his unique Master Password.
- Change your passwords regularly: This is critical but if changing your password very frequently doesn’t fit into your list of priorities, changing it at least once every six months to a year will suffice. Another good practice would be changing your password every time you use a public computer, after receiving a notification of unauthorized access, or something of the similar nature.
- Never recycle password: Reusing the same password across accounts means that if it’s stolen even once, everything from your personal email to your social media accounts could be hijacked. Reusing password is a practice best left behind, because if accounts are compromised, cyber attackers can do a great damage, such as committing identity theft, or stealing money and sensitive information from your place of work.
Attackers will keep trying to crack your passwords in multiple ways. This threat can never be eliminated. However, following the above-mentioned practices will help you combat the threat to a great extent.