How to Manage Passwords Safely – Your Complete Guide
Your Passwords are the gateway to access your applications. A compromise of them can mean unauthorised access by hackers or chancers.
This article is about managing your passwords and what to do (and not to do) to keep them secure. Think of this advice as a critical set of actions that you should adopt to keep your access security safe.
With so many online services available today, every vendor will ask for a username and password for you to set. Some providers stipulate complex passwords, others will enforce multi-factor authentication, and some may not even have any password policies. With so many services and accounts, it is no surprise that user accounts are the number one target for opportunistic hackers to target. It is estimated that over 8 million accounts are hacked or compromised across the Internet every day! Do not become a statistic! Let us delve deeper!
What can you do to protect yourself from password hacks? Your eight key strategies to keeping you safe.
1. Use strong passwords: Having a default password behaviour that you adopt all the time can reduce your risk of password compromise multi-fold. Using a password with a minimum of 12 characters that are alpha-numeric with a unique name goes a long way. Upper/lower case letters, numbers, and special symbols like *&%$ are excellent examples to utilise when creating your password. Your password must not be a name or word in a language, and nor should it be something that is in the dictionary. Your password should not have your name, address, date of birth or easy to guess things about you that are in the public domain. Your password hint should be an association that is hard for anyone to understand except you.
2. Use different passwords: Many people make the mistake of using the same password across many accounts to remember how to access the service. This, whilst it may make life easier for you, also makes life easier for hackers! Using something called “credential stuffing,” they can try all the standard services using your details to see what they can get access to. So please ensure that every account you create has at least a 20% difference in the password.
3. Do not save passwords in browsers: This practice, whilst makes life easier, allows hackers to extract all your passwords with relative ease. It has been the cause of significant compromise in ransomware hacks in 2020. Always aim to remember the passwords or have a system in place where you can recall them from.
4. Do not share your passwords: An everyday activity amongst users, but where you can, please avoid sharing your passwords with others. You will not be able to control where or how they store it so the risk of compromise can be high.
5. Do not access accounts from shared or public devices: Accessing your accounts from devices that are shared or someone else’s open you up to compromise. The likes of viruses and keyloggers could be present, which can compromise your details.
6. Avoid Access to Public Wi-Fi: A public Wi-Fi is open to compromise and hacks as well as traffic snooping. If you can, avoid accessing anything sensitive on Public Wi-Fi as it should be deemed as unsecured.
7. Do not write Passwords down: Many people tend to write passwords down in notebooks and highlight the username AND password. Doing so means that anyone can take the details once they see it.
8. Use Password Managers: Password managers are a brilliant way to store your details safely. The likes of LastPass, Dash Lane and KeePass are all viable password managers that can help secure your credentials.
We hope this blog post has been a valuable read and has made you think about password security. If you would like to discuss password management in more detail, then please do not hesitate to contact us here.