Information security is inherently complex. New threats emerge every day, as do solutions for combating them. However, one thing has remained stable over time: the need for excellent passwords.
Password protection provides a valuable first line of defense in a digital world plagued by hackers and identity theft. Unfortunately, while most of us are at least somewhat aware of the need for strong passwords, we continue to neglect this essential for the sake of convenience. Research from Avast indicates that 83 percent of Americans use weak passwords, with 53 percent also repeating passwords for multiple accounts. The need for change is obvious – so why do we remain trapped in dangerous patterns?
Why Passwords Needs Differ Across Platforms
Password needs can vary from one platform to the next. This corresponds, in part, to threat levels. The most serious risks lie with websites that contain sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, health information, or financial data.
The need for social media protection should also be considered. These days, social media accounts can be nearly as vulnerable as banking or health platforms. Many contain highly sensitive information that can be accessed with surprising ease. However, the risks don’t end there. The ability to do substantial reputational damage should also spark alarm. This is an especially large threat for small business owners, who often rely on the power of their reputation.
How to Create a Secure Password
The need for strong passwords is crystal clear, but a huge gap persists between our understanding of this requirement and our willingness to act on it. We assume that we will struggle to remember dozens of complex strings of letters and numbers, so we don’t bother to update our passwords at all.
Feeling overwhelmed? You’re certainly not alone. Sometimes, it helps to start small. Keep the following considerations in mind as you level up your password game:
Avoid Using the Same Password for Multiple Websites
The most basic rule of thumb for password protection is to avoid reusing passwords. Yes, it’s easier to remember login information if it’s relatively similar for most accounts – but this also makes it easier for hackers to access numerous platforms. The sooner you swap out frequently used passwords, the better.
Steer Clear of Common Passwords
The password “123456” seems like an obviously bad choice, right? Shockingly, it remains a favorite among far too many internet users. Highlighted in SplashData research drawn from millions of leaked passwords, this string of numbers accompanies several other problematic choices, including “qwerty,” “login,” and a perennial favorite: “password.”
Many internet users assume that small tweaks such as the replacement of the letter “O” with the number “0” will throw hackers off the scent, but such tactics rarely succeed. Others rely on common pop culture references, which are nearly as easy to guess.
Ultimately, success in password selection involves bridging the gap between choosing a term that is difficult to guess and finding something that can be remembered in the future. Abbreviations for terms only you could possibly know can help, especially when combined with special characters or random numbers. For example, your password might reference your favorite Uncle Tyler as “favuncT” but add various numbers or characters to become “fav#uncT!492.”
Don’t Store Passwords in Browsers
Although far from perfect, the abbreviation tactic highlighted above will increase the likelihood of you actually remembering passwords – and reduce your temptation to save extremely complex passwords in your internet browser. No matter how complicated your passwords appear, they will do little to protect you if merely hacking into your Google account makes it possible to view them all at once. Unfortunately, browser encryption remains rudimentary, so it’s best to forsake convenience.
Opt for A Secure Password Manager App
If you struggle to keep dozens of passwords straight, a password manager can help. Careful selection is critical, however, as some programs are far more secure than others. In general, top managers generate and store different passwords for various sites. These auto-generated passwords are long and random, so they’re more likely to keep hackers at bay. Most importantly, such managers include far stronger encryption than typical browsers.
Password protection may seem overwhelming, but it’s also extremely important. The effort you put into improving your password strategy could save you considerable stress, time, and money down the road. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re struggling – you’ll never regret investing in your digital security.
NerdsToGo: Strengthening Cybersecurity for Businesses in McKinney & Frisco, TX
At your local NerdsToGo, we are proud to provide a wide range of computer services in Frisco and McKinney, TX. Our talented team is happy to assist you with upgrades to ensure that your devices are as efficient and secure as possible. Plus, our in-home computer repair in Frisco, McKinney, and nearby makes your life easier, as we come to you to provide helpful tech solutions.
If you’re on the hunt for reliable business IT solutions in McKinney and Frisco, TX, you can count on our certified Nerds for help. Our business services include remote data monitoring and management (RMM), firewall installation, and custom network design. Contact us today to learn more about our top cybersecurity solutions!