Did you know: One of the most popular methods for attackers to gain access to systems is by guessing user passwords?
In fact, this method is so popular that hackers often write scripts that will guess thousands of passwords at a time. These are known as brute force attacks. All it takes is for one of the guessed passwords to be correct for an unsuspecting user’s login details to be hacked, and suddenly the attacker has access to their emails, data, and contact lists. And that’s if all they’re hacking into is an email address. Now imagine how much information they’d have access to if a person uses the same password for all their platforms.
This is why password security is a critical method of protecting yourself, and why you and your teams need to make safe passwords your top priority. But what makes for a safe password and why?
How Easy Is It For Hackers To Guess A Password?
While this isn’t an exact science, recent research compiled by HowSecureIsMyPassword.net indicates that passwords that are only made up of numbers are easiest to crack, and the longer a password is, the more secure it becomes.
What Features Should Your Password Include?
Bearing this research in mind, what features should you be sure to include when putting together your own password. There are three factors that come together to make passwords secure:
The longer a password is, the more difficult it will be to break by brute force. This being said, using the same number 15 times in a row doesn’t a secure password make. And the longer your password is, the more likely you are to forget it, leading to frustration and lower security if you don’t manage it correctly.
2. Types of Characters
Using different types of characters – numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and special characters like spaces and punctuation marks – within your password will make it more difficult to guess. But, once again, it can lead to frustration if you’re simply stringing characters together without a mechanism for remembering them (or if you’re not using a password manager).
Often the best password will be a simple sentence that you can easily remember. As long as it includes a variety of characters and special characters, any sentence can make for a password that is memorable for you, without necessarily being easy for a hacker to guess.
There are plenty of lists available online of common passwords that people use all the time. These lists will often be the first passwords that hackers attempt, which is why it’s important that you steer clear of passwords that, for example, include years, the word “password”, or a consecutive string of numbers like “12345”.
Further Advice For Protecting Your Passwords
As If you’ve followed all the advice thus far, you’ve likely got a great password in mind for keeping your login credentials secure. But there are a few extra steps that you can take to ensure that your details and data stay safe.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Even if a hacker does manage to crack your password, if you’ve got MFA enabled, they still won’t be able to access your data. Learn all about multi-factor authentication in this handy blog.
- Use Different Passwords For Every Site And App
Every time you repeat a password, you make it easier for an attacker to gain access to information. All that it takes is for the password to be cracked once. As soon as an attacker knows one set of user credentials, they’ll try to use them on other platforms. So if you use the same password for your email address, Microsoft account, and Facebook profile, you can quickly find yourself compromised across multiple sites. multiple sites.
- Find A Good Password Manager
Remember that thing I said a few paragraphs back about it being important for you to use memorable passwords. Well, having a password manager to save your credentials across multiple sites means that you don’t need to remember every password that you use. As long as you can sync the manager across your devices, you’ll be protected without having to recall what that 18-character string of symbols was.
What Happens If Your Password Does Become Compromised?
The first step to take is to let others know, including your Managed IT Services Provider. The quicker you realise that your password has been compromised, the better for all involved. That way, if an attacker does gain access to your email address and contact list, anyone that they mail can be well prepared to instantly send an attacker’s emails straight to spam.
Why is it important to contact the IT Helpdesk of your support company? Well, if they’re anything like Solid Systems, then they’ll have dedicated IT pros on hand to help you secure any platforms that have become compromised, and can put measures in place to ensure that your business, colleagues, clients, and friends remain safe as well.