This time of year, most of us are looking forward to vacations, baseball games and lots of sunshine. As we get ready to enjoy our summer celebrations, there are others looking to disrupt our fun – cyber “bad guys”. Human trickery is the number one cyber threat that leads to loss of data and finances, both personal and business. Managing your digital accounts and assets is an important way to protect your personal and business identity.
Tricension feels that your peace-of-mind is important as we look to enjoy the summer months. Take a few minutes to see how you can better protect yourself and your business by reviewing the 15 best practices for password security.
Use A Strong Password
Strong passwords make it significantly more difficult for hackers to crack and break into systems. Strong passwords are considered over 8 characters in length and comprise of letters, numbers and symbols. They contain letters in both uppercase and lowercase.
Intermingle Numbers and Symbols
We all know using letters, numbers and symbols makes for a stronger password, but we often overlook that we should incorporate numbers and symbols throughout the password. This practice makes it more difficult for hackers to guess your password.
Don’t Use Simple to Guess Passwords
It can be difficult to remember all your passwords, but by making it simple for you, you also make it simple for the hackers. Avoid using passwords like password1 or 123456. Instead, come up with unique passwords and steer clear of personal information, like your date of birth or child’s name.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a process that requires a second identification when logging into an account such as a pin sent to you via email, text message, or an application. This highly effective safety precaution helps keep accounts and data safe from hackers. Consequently, two-factor authentication protects from stolen passwords and prevents an external person from accessing systems and accounts.
Test Your Password
Did you know that you can test your password strength? Through Microsoft’s Safety & Security Center, you can test that your password is less likely to be hacked. It can even help you identify a strong password.
Refrain from Using Dictionary Words
Sophisticated hackers have developed programs that search through tens of thousands of dictionary words to try to identify your password. Help prevent your business from being the victim of a dictionary attack program by avoiding this practice. Opt for random letters and numbers or perhaps phrases intermingled with numbers and symbols.
Keep Passwords Short Enough to Remember
So passwords that are too short are good, but making them too long to remember is not good either. Passwords that creep up to over ten characters can be painfully difficult to remember. Around 8 – 10 characters are considered optimum for password safety.
Vary Your Passwords
It can be tempting to reuse passwords across different accounts and applications to make remembering passwords easier. However, this makes it easier for hackers to break into a multitude of accounts. Diversify your passwords by using a different password for every account.
Use a Password Manager
More and more businesses and professionals are using password managers as a means of practicing high levels of security and to help keep their sanity. With password managers, you only need to remember one password, as the password manager stores and even create passwords for your different accounts, automatically signing you in when you log on. Remember, make the password that you use for the password manager, one that follows these password security recommendations.
Secure Your Mobile Phone
With the growing use of mobile phones to conduct business, shop and more, mobile devices are becoming a major cause of concern in the security community. Help protect your phone and other mobile devices from hackers by securing your phone with a strong password or pin. Or, better still, use fingerprint or facial recognition passwords to help outwit hackers.
Rotate Your Passwords Regularly
It can also be tempting to keep the same old passwords for years, so you don’t forget it. However, changing passwords regularly is a good password practice to instill in your personal and business security plan to help outwit hackers.
Change Passwords When an Employee Leaves Your Business
Often former employees hold a grudge and will attempt to hack into your business accounts with passwords that they used while working at your company. Don’t get caught on this. Make it standard practice to rotate passwords when an employee leaves, especially one that leaves under unpleasant circumstances.
Be Cautious of What You Have Online
Avoid putting vital company security information on the internet. This makes it easy for hackers to steal. Sign out of accounts, lock your computer, remove applications when you no longer need them. Also, remove any permissions of applications when you have finished with them.
Avoid Storing Passwords
We all know this one is very tempting, however, storing them digitally on a spreadsheet or in your phone or even on a piece of paper should be avoided. Explore the use of a password manager, but make certain that password is one that you can easily recall.
Be Vigilant About Safety
No matter how strong your passwords are and meticulous about safety you are, passwords won’t be safe if a hacker’s spy program is monitoring what you enter on your keyboard. Make life as difficult as possible for cyber criminals by using an up-to-date virus scanner and making regular updates to your devices.