Passwords are gatekeepers of our accounts, but sometimes, we treat them as an afterthought. If you look at the number of security breaches and data leakage statistics, you’ll see that we’re not as protective of our accounts as we think.
To keep you informed and prepared to tackle any cybersecurity menace, we’ve created a quick guide on creating strong and reliable passwords that will protect your accounts.
Since memorization tends to be one of our worst abilities, we should probably rely on technology more extensively and let password managers and generators take this burden off our shoulders. Password generators can create an infinite number of complex and highly secure passwords for each of your accounts. Also, most password managers now have the option to generate passwords, meaning that they’ll create sturdy credentials for you, encrypt them and safely store them.
We often create passwords in a hurry and end up using something generic that we think we’ll recall easily. This infographic on common passwords shows that the problem of using generic passwords is a global one. If you consider that it takes hackers less than 0.25 milliseconds to crack passwords like “password” or “qwerty,” weak passwords are a bigger threat to your security than malware.
We use our personal information like birthdays, children or pet names, and license plate numbers in passwords because we think we’ll memorize them more easily. However, these passwords can undermine your cybersecurity because only a glance over your social media profiles can give cyber criminals enough information to break into your accounts and snatch your valuable data.
Recycling your passwords over several accounts can also put you at an increased risk of getting hacked. Having one password for protecting your accounts is like having one universal key for all the locks in your home. If an intruder decides to break into your system, they’ll have to obtain only a single piece of information. What’s even more alarming, statistics show that 51 percent of people use the same passwords for their personal and business accounts. Make sure to separate your business accounts to limit the number of risks you’re exposed to.
In dictionary attacks, hackers use extensive lists of words to systematically examine all possible password variations until they find the exact match and break into the account. This way, they can break into thousands of accounts in the blink of an eye. To prevent this, never use dictionary words in your passwords. For example, instead of “winter,” use variations with symbols and numbers like “w!nt3R”.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a foolproof cybersecurity strategy to keep your accounts protected from all the security threats lurking around the internet, but every solid security plan should start with healthy password practices. Review your password habits and adjust your strategy according to the advice mentioned in this article. Also, don’t forget to update your cybersecurity plan regularly.
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