We have all seen the news stories: compromised passwords causing many high-profile business security breaches, including Sony Pictures, Apple, LinkedIn, and Target. These breaches happened because most users’ passwords are easily guessed or “phished” by hackers. Even worse, they are sometimes stored in a file that can be easily stolen!
Here are five suggestions to increase password security for your business, clients, and personal information:
Use at least 12 characters
Short passwords are easy to crack with modern technology; even ones with eight characters can be cracked in a few days. Passwords of at least 12 characters (alphanumeric with special characters) that are completely random present a tougher challenge for even the most sophisticated decryption systems used by hackers.
Add additional characters and symbols
Adding extra symbols and characters to a password will make it tougher to crack. Passwords should appear to a stranger as just a random string of characters, incorporating a good mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation symbols. Try using a long acronym or partial words from a phrase to throw off any kind of dictionary-based attack.
Get a password manager service
A password manager is a secure way to generate long, complex and unique passwords without relying on your brain or a piece of paper to remember them. It is easy to import log-in data from all the accounts associated with your email address, and they are encrypted. Some highly-rated password manager services include LastPass, Dashlane, and Sticky Password. No matter which service you choose, it’s better than storing your passwords on your browser!
Use MFA/two-factor authentication for all accounts, including email
Two-factor authentication is an increasingly popular way of tightening security when using web services, such as Amazon, Dropbox, and Facebook. Users can add a secondary authentication method, such as a text message, email, or phone call to verify account details.
Enhance your 4-digit PIN for extra security
Many people have a 4-digit PIN on their cell phones, but if you’re serious about security, use the password setting on your phone to make the PIN longer. It’s also a good idea to differentiate it from your banking PIN.
Dorset Connects’ team of IT security experts can help you make sure that your organization is taking the right steps to keep its data secure.