Today, Thursday 6th May is World Password Day 2021. Intel started World Password Day in 2013 to draw attention to the importance of passwords because they are the start of our defence against cybercrime.
While the tradition still continues there has been a change in our relationship with passwords. It's often no longer the sole protection we put on an account or application.
Technology trends are moving towards a place where we are password-free. However, that time hasn't arrived yet so we must still take care setting our passwords. Passwords still matter but there is also more you can do.
Your passwords need to be unique
Passwords are still an important tool for security but only if you are using them right. Too many of us opt to use easy to remember passwords and we use them again and again. We are doing the cybercriminals work for them.
If a company suffers a data breach and your login details are made available, if you use that same password for multiple accounts hackers will now have access to all those accounts.
That is why is vital that you use different passwords for EVERY account or application you use. If one gets compromised then your other accounts are still safe.
Your passwords need to be strong
Even though you are using unique passwords they can still be hacked. The table below shows how long it will take to hack a password depending on its length and use of characters.
For best practice, you want to use a password of 18 characters or more and make use of a mixture of numbers, lower and upper case and symbols.
The best way to achieve that is to think of four random and unrelated words of 4-6 letters. For example, cloud, table, music and lorry. That is the basis of your strong password. Now each word will start with an upper case and separate them with numbers and symbols.
This is what your password will look like.
This password is 24 characters long and mixes in numbers, upper and lower case and symbols. It will take a computer over 1 quintillion years to hack it. That's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. That's one safe password.
Use a password manager
Okay, so you might be able to remember that password example. You might even be able to remember 2 or 3 of them but how many accounts do we have today?
There is no way you'll be able to remember all the unique and strong passwords you need for all your accounts and applications. So what is the answer?
Using a Password Manager will allow you to save all your passwords in one safe and secure location and the only password you will need to remember is the one for the Password Manager.
What else can you do to secure your accounts?
More and more companies and applications are using extra technology to secure your login. Most mobile phones have face scan or fingerprint scan you can use to log in. Here are some of the ways you can help secure your logins even more.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is another form of action you take after entering a password. The most common form is a code is sent to your phone that you enter in. This offers double protection to your account (you'd need to lose your phone as well as have your password hacked).
It's becoming more commonly used by companies and most banks use them for internet banking. For more information on multi-factor authentication click here.
The sci-fi films of the '90s were right! Biometric authentication is in use on most mobile phones or on laptops. They are also being used for building security. There are different types of biometrics possible for use:
- Facial recognition
- Fingerprint scanners
- Voice identification
- Eye scanners
Token-based authentication technologies enable users to enter their credentials once and receive a unique encrypted string of random characters in exchange.
You can then use the token to access protected systems instead of entering your credentials all over again. The digital token proves that you already have access permission.
World Password Day is a yearly reminder of how important passwords are. The technology maybe moving on past them but right now they are still your first line of defence.
Follow the tips in this article and start using strong and unique passwords to protect your accounts. For advice or help on using a password manager in your business contact us here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01634 52 52 52.