Passwords are a crucial part of your security and privacy. It’s important to make them as secure as possible to reduce the risk of any cyber threats to your business. Without a strong and unique password, your personal information and data could be accessed and exposed – weak and repetitive passwords are easy to guess and pose a threat to data security.
Cyber-attacks are becoming more and more common for businesses. Computers can be programmed to use different techniques to crack users’ passwords, sometimes guessing billions of words and phrases per second.
A lot of the time, hackers rely on the predictability of users’ passwords. Here are some best practices you and your company can use to improve your password security:
Users tend to create passwords that are memorable. This could be their birthday, pet’s name or easy strings like ‘123456’ and ‘qwerty’. These types of passwords are the most predictable, putting the user at a high risk of their data being infiltrated.
When creating a password, it’s most common to use one word with a number at the end or a capital at the start. Passwords structured like this are easy to guess for computers, so some experts suggest using a long, unique phrase instead of a word. These can be random words put together to make a phrase, one example would be ‘horror remedy broadcast trip’, this would be a lot harder for a computer or hacker to guess.
Accounts with privileged access to more systems and data are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than other accounts. Multi-Factor Authentication is the best choice for protecting these accounts because two or more methods of authentication are needed to verify the user.
To prevent brute force or dictionary attacks, companies can assign a limit to failed login attempts. This locks potential hackers out of your account as it prevents multiple guesses of incorrect passwords.
It’s crucial that every employee knows the importance of their passwords being as strong as possible. Knowing how to detect phishing emails is another area that employees need to be educated on to prevent them unknowingly giving away passwords or data to a cyber threat.
End-to-end encryption that is non-reversable is the best bet for providing protection for passwords. This way, if passwords are discovered by hackers then the other passwords in transit over the network are protected.
Facial recognition and Touch ID are two methods commonly used to bolster security on digital systems. This way, the system can identify the employee correctly, preventing unknown hackers from accessing your data.
It’s important for companies to change their passwords in certain situations like when an employee leaves. However, companies often force users to change their passwords every few months. This can actually worsen password security rather than improve it because users are going to re-use or slightly change their old passwords. Preventative measures can be put in place to stop old passwords from being used but these policies are easy to get around. Regular password changes can also confuse users and force them to write their passwords down on post-it notes which can compromise security.
Creating a list of the most common and predictable passwords and then making sure employees can’t use them by blacklisting them is a measure to stop users from creating weak passwords.
One of the best methods of data protection is two-factor authentication. Even if your password is inputted correctly, another method of authentication is needed to verify it’s actually you. This could be a code sent over text or call to a mobile or landline.