How to Ensure Your Passwords Are Secure

Know how to ensure your passwords are secure; Passwords help protect your personal online space and act as shields for your privacy

Updated on July 25, 2022
How to Ensure Your Passwords Are Secure

Know how to ensure your passwords are secure; Passwords help protect your personal online space and act as shields for your privacy. Therefore, they must be strong enough to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your information.

How to ensure your passwords are secure

ExpressVPN’s infographic on common passwords worldwide shows that despite repeated warnings from experts, reusing weak passwords across multiple accounts is still common. Although worryingly, it seems that the message is not getting across, you don’t have to look far to find a high-profile cyber attack to understand what’s at stake.

So, how do you create a secure password? There are some best practices to help you design secure passwords and secure your online spaces. First, however, it is necessary to understand how your data can be compromised in the first place.

Why data is exposed

Here are some reasons why your personal information may be exposed:

Interest in your privacy: Someone you know can guess your email or password and use recovery options to access your accounts.

Collective attack: When a criminal tries to break into multiple accounts, he creates strategies to crack the passwords. This implies using a program that checks all the possible solutions until it finds the right one.

Corporate data breach: It is common for attackers to target companies for financial goals. This can also lead to the exposure of contributor and partner accounts, which can compromise their privacy.

How cybercriminals attack

Passwords used for many years; and multiple accounts are likely to be compromised. Here are some examples of how and may attack your passwords:

Brute force: The objective of this attack is to guess the combination. The criminal uses software that tests as many options as possible in the shortest period. Therefore, smaller passwords (less than 9 characters) are more vulnerable to this type of attack.

Dictionary: In this type of attack, the attacker uses a dictionary and tries to guess a password by using the words from the dictionary. If the code is a word, the only way to escape this is by creating an unusual word or joining several terms in one.

Phishing: Phishing is used to track, intimidate; or pressure a recipient on an unwanted website. It uses fake communication and instructs the receiver to click on a link, which leads to a deceptive website. In addition, and can trick users into entering their password, and this way, the criminal, can easily get it.

Phishing messages can also come over the phone. They start with a recording, and if the victim doesn’t hang up; they’re connected to the scammer.

How to ensure your passwords are secure

The password is one of the most well-known elements of information security. But despite being so common, its compromise poses a great danger to individuals and companies. It is clear that today hackers and cybercriminals have techniques that can make them steal your private data.

Today, the number of accounts we use in the online world is increasing, emails, social networks, wi-fi networks, smartphone unlocking, internal systems..and so on. This requires having many different passwords for each of these accounts, but unfortunately, research shows that most people are careless with passwords.

Here are 10 tips to minimize risk and keep your passwords strong and secure:

1 – Avoid using commemorative dates and family names to create secure passwords

Dates, especially birthdays, can be easy to obtain; and are required in most website registrations. Nowadays, it is also common to require your mother’s name, wife’s, or child’s. Avoid sharing this information if possible.

2 – Create different passwords for each account

One in three users use two or three passwords on every account, and one in seven has just one password for everything. If a hacker discovers one of them, he will easily break into all your accounts. We know it’s very difficult to remember passwords for all our accounts, but it is essential. Tip number 9 can help you with it.

3 – Use special characters, numbers, and letters

Another big security issue is the variety of characters to create secure passwords. 10% of people have passwords shorter than eight characters. Among these users, 1% don’t have passwords with special characters, numbers, or letters, which considerably increases the number of potential attacks. It is important to have a variety of different elements at once to make your passwords stronger.

4 – Create long passwords to create secure passwords

Length, in this case, is essential for strong passwords. The shorter the password, the easier it is for hackers to guess it. Think of it this way: every character added to the password means an increase in password security. (i.e., it makes life harder for cybercriminals, as it puts more obstacles in the way for them to “guess” your password). In other words: don’t have short passwords. The ideal would be at least 15 different characters.

5 – Do not use personal information

Avoid using birthdays, names of relatives, animals, cities, countries, and other things related to your personal life n your password. Remember that plenty of our personal information is on the internet today, and hackers can find things like your partner’s name, the school you went to, your favorite band, or even your dog’s name.

6 – Don’t use obvious words to create secure passwords

The definition of “obvious” here is quite broad and includes a word found in any dictionary. Hackers can “guess” thousands of passwords quickly, and the words from the dictionary are on the list of obvious things they use to try to break into our accounts.

7 – Do not recycle passwords

Having to memorize passwords can be tiring, and many people tend to reuse their passwords. However, once used, and must not reuse the passwords on other accounts or modified. Recycling passwords only makes life easier for hackers and puts you at risk.

8 – Store passwords in safe places

We need to keep in mind so many passwords and so many other things that it is natural to forget passwords. Unfortunately, 50% of people keep passwords on paper, on the phone or on the computer, or in-text files – these are not safe techniques. Instead, you should invest in a program that stores, organizes, and encrypts your credentials.

9 – Use two-factor authentication to keep your passwords secure

In addition to a strong password, another tool can protect your accounts and prevent intrusion. Many services offer so-called two-factor authentication. This gives you an extra layer of security. You will need to enter your password and confirm that you are logging in using another method.

You may have to enter a code via SMS, the service application you are using, or a code generator. Some services have already simplified the process and only ask you to press a “yes” button on your smartphone. In any case, this type of authentication gives users more security because it guarantees that no one will be able to break into their accounts. If someone tries, you will be alerted because you will be asked for confirmation.

10 – Use password administrators

A great tool to increase your security is the password administrator. These programs store all your logins and passwords and generate secure (and different) passwords for all your accounts.

And, as a bonus, they encrypt this data and keep it out of the reach of bad guys. For individuals, a great option is LastPass, which can use on computers, browsers, and mobile phones, and best of all, it is free. Fast Help offers a perfect solution for companies, the Password Vault.

It is possible to manage and monitor the creation and use of privileged credentials, all with a single and secure login and other functionalities. We use our partner CyberArk’s solution, a reference in this segment today.

Conclusion

Passwords are virtual padlocks, and all your confidential information will be safe as long as they are protected. However, if a criminal discovers the secret code, there is no security system to prevent damage. Therefore, always paying attention to secure your passwords in the virtual world is essential.