Password Security Awareness

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Why it is important to take your password security seriously? If you are using Facebook, eBay, Twitter or any other popular online service then your password/ user ID is one of the most important things to protect. Why?

Today’s hacking programs allow hackers to easily crack passwords without trying too hard. One tip: If a hacker can guess or crack your password in 3 attempts, they will spend their time on another password because it’s pretty easy for them.

Online hackers will typically use one of the following methods to attempt to crack your password: 1) making a list of possible passwords by adding/repeating letters, numbers and special characters or 2) using brute force method where they guess all possible combinations including all lower and uppercase letters, numbers and special characters.

It is important to make your password as strong as you can! This article will discuss 10 easy steps that can help you secure your passwords and accounts from hackers.

  1. Use a good password manager: Password managers create strong, unique passwords for each service you use, remember them for you, and automatically fill them in when you visit a site. When picking your password manager software take into account how private it is (does it track user information?), if the cloud or client based and finally how much control you have over the encryption of your passwords.
  2. Use different passwords for different sites: The only way to protect your data! Choose a strong master password, and then use an unrelated passphrase and/or numbering system to make up the rest of each site-specific password (some examples are bidesetuigeldado8 or [email protected]!po). Your password manager can help you with this.
  3. Avoid using the same password on multiple sites: This is especially important if one of those sites requires your financial information. It’s not really that hard to guess someone’s bank account number if they use it across a bunch of different accounts, even if the other sites are less seemingly important.
  4. Don’t use common passwords: The ten most commonly used password are “123456,” “password,” and “qwerty.” Also avoid using personal information such as birthdays and anniversaries. Instead make up your own rules for passwords, you’ll remember, and it will increase the strength of your passphrase.
  5. Use a different email address for each site and contact: It is not uncommon for people to have the same password on multiple accounts across different sites. Hackers use automated scripts that log into as many websites as possible using one account after breaching one of them—and they’re good at it. By using a different email address for each site, you will force the hacker to breach multiple sites instead of just one.
  6. Use multi-factor authentication: If your are concerned about password security on an account, make sure that you turn on two-factor authentication. This means that even if someone knows your password, they still need a code sent to their phone or an electronic device in order to login.
  7. Change your passwords regularly: Make sure you update your passwords on each site every 4-6 months. This might seem like a hassle but is actually quite simple and can be automated with tools like 1Password (https://1password.com/).
  8. Educate others: If someone else in your home or at work uses the same password on multiple sites make sure to let them know that this is not a good idea. The only way to protect everyone is by making sure that they are also following best practices for password security and updating their passwords regularly.
  9. Keep your computers secure: If your computer is susceptible to viruses or malware, it can compromise your accounts—even if you have strong passwords. Make sure to keep your computers updated and use anti-virus software to prevent any issues from occurring.
  10. Do not share passwords with others: This might seem like a no brainer, but it is quite common for people to share their passwords with family members or co-workers who are helping them out. Unfortunately this can lead to massive breaches if one of these people decides to breach the account for malicious purposes.
  11. Be careful what you click on: You’d be surprised how many people get hacked by clicking on a link that seems like it came from someone they know, but actually was from an attacker trying to use social engineering (tricking you into trusting them) in order to gain access to your accounts. Be cautious what you click on and who you share links with, as this is a common attack vector for hackers.
  12. Use different passwords for sites that require financial information: You would be surprised how often people use the same password for their email account and their bank account login (or worse, the same password on multiple bank accounts). Make sure to use a different password for sites that require financial information—it is better not to have access to your email for a few days than it is to have someone drain out all of your hard earned money.

 

Summary

You should have a different password for every site, but you may use variations to make it stronger. Every site should implement two-factor authentication and allow users to easily change their passwords. It would be a good idea for users to educate each other on the importance of strong passwords,