When it comes to cybersecurity, your last line of defense is your password. Don’t make it easy on the bad guys to infiltrate your world. Learn how to shore up your online presence
It happens with all-too-shocking regularity: passwords being cracked and sensitive data exposed to prying eyes, and sometimes, at a staggering cost. Whether it’s a social network, your email account, or (God forbid) your business’s bank account or server, your password represents your last line of defense against your online enemies: cybercriminals.
Strong passwords will help keep your business and data safe. A complex password is critical to protecting yourself, your business, and your digital data.
It’s not uncommon to pick a short, simple password for multiple log-ins but you’re only aiding and abetting cybercrooks by doing so. When you have a password that is short (only a few characters long), and one that contains the same patterns, or words found in the dictionary, it’s far too easy to crack. Taking these types of shortcuts provides little protection against hackers.
Ideally, you should be using a password that is more than 16 characters long and includes digits, symbols, and letters. Furthermore, you should change that password every three months, and especially if the site or system you’re logging into doesn’t provide two-step verification.
How To Establish a Strong Password
There are many things to consider when it comes determining what comprises a strong versus weak password. Here are several points worth contemplating:
- Don’t be predictable. Make your password next to impossible to guess. If you friend, colleague, or significant other can successfully guess what one of your passwords are you’re not trying hard enough
- Use many different types of characters, including uppercase and lowercase alphabetic characters, numbers, and symbols
- Use a different password for each system or website. They should all be unique and never shared
- Never pick a word from the dictionary – hacking applications cycle through dictionary words to try and guess your password
The use of a mnemonic device — a coded word made from the first letter of each word in a phrase, for example, ACwmfT1Lo3wiaP, mixed with numbers, special symbols or both in place of certain alphabet characters — can go a long way toward creating a formidable password.
Similarly, passwords made from a few unrelated words spelled phonetically (for instance, “suttleuooseaffauxnetix” represents “subtle use of phonetics”) are difficult to guess, but easy to remember. Nonsense phrases that paint an unforgettable mental image can also work well.
Regularly Scheduled Computer Maintenance
Think of protecting yourself and your business online as something that requires regularly scheduled attention and maintenance. Applying the latest patches for your operating system and applications close known security holes. Having the most up-to-date antivirus software and anti-malware software is also essential. As a business owner, you need to verify your current technology partner or in-house staff is keeping these key items current. If they don’t, you owe it to your business to find a partner that will.
Passwords Are Only One Piece of the Digital Protection Puzzle
Gaining access to your digital systems should be as challenging for hackers as trying to solve a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle while blindfolded.
A password is just a tiny corner or edge piece of the puzzle, and more protection should be in place to protect you. In addition to password protection, there are dozens of additional precautions that can be used to further protect your digital systems, including two-step, or multi-factor, authentication, encryption, and single-use, or one-time passwords.
Digital Protection Starts With Effective Passwords
Getting hacked can severely impact your life and business. But abiding by smart password protection measures with all of your digital systems can help reduce the risk.
Take time to develop a cybersecurity plan that works for you and your business. Ensure you properly train your customers and employees to help them understand and identify what role they play in your organization’s overall security posture.
What are you waiting for? Go change your passwords now! And if you want to take your company’s online security to the next level, get in touch. We can augment your online security with our best practices, tactics, and technologies that will help keep you and your business safe.
Want to learn more about our vulnerability and risk assessment services? Hammett Technologies is a leader in protecting and securing business networks. Our certified, experienced staff knows what’s required to keep you in business and the bad guys at bay. Call us at (443) 216-9999 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.