We all struggle with passwords. They tend to create frustration for the user, and even though we know they are necessary, we often try to use the same password or simple passwords for everything to make our lives easier. Passwords act as the gatekeeper between the rest of the web and our personal and business information. Choosing a strong password—and remembering it—can be a challenge, but it is an important factor in your defense against cyberattacks. In order to get the most out of your password, follow these steps:

Length:
The longer the password, the more difficult it is for hackers to guess. It should contain at least 8 to 10 characters or even more for added security.

Complexity:
Your password should contain a variation of numbers, letters (both lowercase and capital), punctuation and symbols. Try to find a balance between easy to remember and hard to crack! One great strategy which is an easier to remember solution is to use a phrase, with no spaces between the words and a number and symbol added at the end; for example mycarisveryblue1#

Passwords to Avoid:
Although easy to remember, some passwords should be avoided as they are equally easy for hackers to guess. Significant dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), your name, city names or places, the names of people or pets and numeric sequences (i.e. 1234, 123456789, 0000, etc.) are some examples of what not to use as your password. Simple one word only passwords are easy to crack. If your password is not like the ones on the list below, you’re on the right track! Don’t use…

  • Password
  • Querty
  • Dragon
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Letmein
  • Monkey
  • Mustang Corvette
  • Batman, Superman or any popular superhero
  • Apple
  • Sunshine
  • Biteme
  • Computer
  • Bluejays
  • Mapleleafs

Keeping Your Password Effective
Once you’ve created a strong password, it is imperative to ensure it remains that way. These tips will assist in keeping your accounts secure:

Never Reuse the Same Password
When creating passwords for separate accounts, it is best to use ones that are similar at best. Using the same password for multiple accounts can create a vulnerability in your security. If a hacker or cybercrook manages to gain access to one account, chances are they will use the same credentials to try to gain access to other accounts.

Keep Your Passwords Private
Keeping your password to yourself is key when trying to maintain security. This also includes storing your password; do not write down your passwords. There are other, more secure ways of keeping track of passwords, which leads to the next point.

Consider a Password Manager
This is a type of software that lets you store all your passwords on a secure database that is protected by a strong master password of your choosing. Password managers usually encrypt the stored passwords and can also generate random passwords. Make sure to do your research as not all password managers are created equal!

Permanent Passwords
It is generally recommended that a password is changed every ninety days. This is especially true if you are a business owner as it is likely that you have passwords in place that allow access to a large collection of sensitive data. Adding an expiration date to passwords within your network can minimize the risk of security breach. By setting up a recurring, automated password reset, you’ll be doing away with old, stale passwords that may have been compromised and establishing new, more secure ones.

In a time when so much of our business involves working online, maintaining your privacy should be a top priority. Although there are other security measures (such as a strong firewall and antivirus/patch solution) that should be used simultaneously, a strong password is an important factor to stop cybercrime and data breach.

When in doubt contact Shaw Computer Systems for help to manage and keep your passwords and your network secure.