In today´s connected digital world, we often find ourselves managing several passwords for email, social media, online shopping and other online accounts at home and at work.
Choosing a password is not something that should be a second thought, a strong password has a direct impact on the protection of our information and devices.
We are generally accustomed to choosing passwords that have significant meaning to us (such as the name of a pet) and often to make management of passwords easier on ourselves, we tend to reuse the same passwords across several accounts. In addition, most of us rarely stop to think that our passwords could be sought after by someone. We tend to think more in terms of ‘why me? There must certainly be someone more interesting for a cybercriminal to target’.
However, Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations report, reveals that more than 80% of the breaches related to a cyber-attack were caused by weak or stolen passwords. The below tips can guide you in creating stronger keys to your digital life.
How to select a good password
Creating long and therefore strong passwords is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your online accounts. The US National Institute of Standards and Technology recommends that you use a minimum of 23 characters made up of three or more words – this is referred to as a passphrase.
This practice of using passphrases is helpful because it helps you to create long and robust passwords (without the need for complexity of numbers or symbols), that are easy for you to remember. The longer your passwords are the stronger they are. “29 Blue cats on the sofa” is a more secure password than “29Cats!”. The first would take centuries to crack, while the second password could take two days to hack.
Your date of birth or things that can easily be traced back to you are the type of things you also want to avoid when creating passwords. It´s also good practice to use different passwords for each account. This way if someone gains access to one password, you´ll make it a lot harder for them to access your other accounts with the same password.
The importance of multifactor authentication
Multifactor Authentication (MFA) helps add an added layer of security to your accounts by requiring an extra piece of information only you possess to access an account.
Everyday there are more companies and online accounts that require this type of account validation for access. The National Cyber Security Institute explains that MFA helps to verify through one or more extra checks that you are who you say you are online.
In other words, if the Prince Charming had not verified that the glass slipper really fit Cinderella, well the story would have ended less than happily ever after. Many tried to pass as Cinderella, but the glass slipper only fit the one and only.
Thanks to this multi-verification system, a password is not just enough for others to access your accounts; instead you need to prove your identity through another check: a push notification sent to your phone, a phone call or through a fingerprint or face recognition.
Following these two simple password tips can help make a difference in your online security.