One of the most common ways that hackers gain entry to accounts is through the use of stolen passwords. According to IDAgent, over 80% of data breaches are due to weak password security. Strong passwords are key to protect your business and ensure your sensitive information stays secure.
A common concern with intricate passwords is the risk of forgetting them, however, the consequences of a data breach are far worse. It is necessary to create complex and unique passwords for all of your accounts to protect your information and improve your overall security.
How do hackers gain access to passwords?
There are quite a few ways hackers can gain entry to your accounts. A common tactic is phishing; hackers will trick employees into revealing their passwords through the use of email, text, or phone calls.
Hackers can also use brute force to guess weak passwords when there are unlimited login attempts, so it’s important to create long, unique passwords that cannot be easily predicted.
What to Avoid:
- First name, family name, spouse’s name, or child’s name
- Personal information – birthdays, age
- Repeated or consecutive numbers (555, 1234)
- Consecutive keyboard combinations (ex. qwerty, zxcvb)
Password Security Checklist
Different and unique passwords for each account – Using the same password across multiple accounts is a major security risk. If one account is hacked, all accounts with the same password are at risk of being hacked as well.
Use a password manager – Password managers allow you to securely store all your passwords in one place so you only have to remember one master password.
Characters and symbols – Use special characters and numbers to make your passwords more difficult and complicated. You can replace words like “to” with the number “2”, or the letter “S” with the symbol “$”.
Length – To ensure your password is strong, you should incorporate 12 characters or more. Each character increases the strength of your password.
Change passwords often – Changing your passwords quarterly, or even every 6 months to a year, can reduce your risk of being hacked. Some sites require you to change your password often, you should maintain this practice for sites that do not require it as well. The more often you change your passwords, the lower the risk that they will be compromised.
Use multi-factor authentication – MFA typically requires confirmation on another device after the password has been entered, which would only allow the user with the device to authorize access to the account. According to Microsoft, multi-factor authentication prevents more than 99% of account compromise attacks.
Take the time to review your current passwords and make any changes needed to ensure your accounts are safe from possible data breaches. Password security can be time consuming, but it’s essential to secure your information and reduce your cybersecurity risk.
Contact us for more information on how to improve your security posture and protect your business.