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September 16, 2022 | By stephen

Maintain Optimal Password Security With These 5 Best Practices

Password security is one of the most important things to be aware of these days. Creating a unique password for each of your online accounts is easier said than done, but it’s essential if you want to protect yourself from cyber threats.

Despite growing awareness around online security risks, most people still opt for creating simple, commonly used passwords. Oftentimes, the same passwords are recycled across multiple accounts.

Creating a simple password might be convenient, but unfortunately, it’s much like giving hackers the key to your kingdom. Make sure you’re taking the proper steps to protect yourself (or your company) online.

Use a Password Manager

The best passwords are both hard for cybercriminals to guess and hard for you to remember. Fortunately, downloading a password manager will help you create strong passwords and manage them all in one place.

We recommend using password managers such as LastPass, Dashlane, or LogMeOnce. They work by remembering the passwords you use for each site and automatically filling them in once you pull up an account sign-in page. Moreover, a password manager will recommend strong passwords for you that are difficult for hackers to intercept.

Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

In addition to having a password manager, consider using MFA. By setting up multi-factor authentication, you can add an additional layer of protection to your accounts. If a hacker does happen to get your username and password, MFA requires your identity to be verified a second time, usually through a text message code or phone call.

Codes being sent directly to your phone aren’t always the safest method, however. Hackers often use SIM swap scams to get your phone number and receive the verification code. For this reason, we recommend using an authentication app like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator.

Do Not Recycle

A poll found that 91% of people are aware of security risks related to recycling passwords across multiple accounts, yet 59% of people continue to use the same password everywhere. Simply put, if a hacker gets a recycled password, they will have access to not just one but all your accounts.

For example, say you’re using the same password for both your Hulu and online banking accounts. A hacker gains access to your Hulu information. Now, they have your login credentials to your bank account as well.

Implement Periodic Resets

We recommend doing 90-day periodic resets to keep the risk of exposure low and to avoid threats. It’s important to note; however, that when the time comes to change your password, make sure it’s not similar to your old password. If a hacker has already gained access to your information, updating to a non-similar password makes it harder for them to break in again.

In addition, periodic resets can help an organization identify a breach faster. On average, it takes about 207 days to locate a breach. Without periodic resets, this timeframe can greatly increase.

Use Long Passwords with Unique Character and Word Combinations

A strong password is at least 8 characters and contains a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. As mentioned above, password managers are the ideal solution for formulating and keeping track of strong passwords.

If you prefer to formulate your own library of passwords, be sure to avoid the most common:

  • 123456
  • 11111
  • 123123
  • Password
  • Names of children/family members
  • Names of pets
  • Birthdays

Stay Safe

Online safety is a constant tug-of-war between you and a host of cybercriminals. The internet makes many aspects of our lives easier, but there are also dangers out there. Use a password manager, set up MFA, and practice these other security steps.

Consider employing the IT support services of an expert like LeadingIT. With 12 years in the business, we can help protect your small business, nonprofit, or personal data from the many cyber threats in today’s online world.

LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 20-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.

Do you need cybersecurity support to protect your business? Leave a message for us and we will get back to you right away.



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