You do not have to be one of the thousands of Coloradans who have been victims of a cyber attack to know how vital securing your online identity with strong passwords is in the modern age. All it takes is one weak password to compromise your entire online presence (and real-world life). Unfortunately, while most individuals may have complex passwords for email, bank, social media, and other online accounts, many others think that hackers do not target websites that do not store financial information. That could not be further from the truth. Statistics show that cybercriminals will attempt to infiltrate just about any seemingly secure system to prove they can. Once your personal data is compromised, regaining control can be problematic in the extreme. How can you protect yourself and your online presence in the face of these obstacles? This blog post explores some common-sense tips for creating strong passwords.
Tips For Creating Strong Passwords
Creating strong passwords may seem daunting, but the task is far from impossible. Here are seven ways you can keep your online identity secure:
The longer your password, the better. The standard set by cybersecurity experts is to have passwords that are eight characters in length minimum and fourteen characters in length ideally.
Mix It Up
Many websites require users to set passwords with uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters. So feel free to mix in numbers and change characters into numbers, such as substituting the dollar sign for the letter S or an exclamation mark for the letters I or L. Use punctuation in your passwords, and if the website’s security protocols allow, include spaces.
Avoid Personal Information Entirely
We all want a password that is easy to remember. However, including personal information, such as birthdates, a pet’s name, or the make and model of your first car, will leave your online identity open to cyberattacks. The more random you can make your password, the better.
Test Your Passwords
Numerous sites will allow you to input a password and provide feedback on the strength of the password. Here is an example of how mixing up the characters can create strong passwords, according to the website Security.org:
- The simple password “argylesocks” would take a hacker just one day to crack.
- Including a space, “argyle socks,” the security strength jumps to 54 years.
- Adding uppercase letters, i.e., “Argyle Socks,” increases the strength to 12,000 years to crack.
- Replacing some letters with numbers, such as “Argy1e S0cks” provides 63,000 years of security.
- Add in a combo of numbers and special characters for ultimate security. Changing the password to “@rGy1eS0ckS” will take 400,000 years for a computer to crack.
Use a Strong Password Generator
Just as many websites can test your password’s strength, many will also create randomized passwords for you. A quick search for “strong password generator” on Google will provide you with a plethora of websites to check out. Remember, not only adults are online these days. If you have minors who use the web, teach them the importance of cybersecurity and privacy. One password generator we like for children is DinoPass.com. Kids will love the funny combinations available, and parents can feel secure that their children are protected online.
Protect Your Password
Creating strong passwords will do no good if you write them down on a post-it and leave it on your desk or monitor. If you need help remembering your password, write it down and store it in a secure location, but preferably not on your computer, cubicle wall, or desktop. The most secure location is your brain, so memorize any passwords you can.
Change Your Passwords Often
Do not be afraid to change your passwords every sixty to ninety days, Likewise, using the same strong passwords across multiple sites may seem like a good idea, but if even one of the sites you use that password on is compromised, your entire online identity may be compromised as well. We recommend using different strong passwords for all websites, but especially those which are most critical, such as banking and financial institutions.
Maintaining Strong Passwords Is Just One Part of Our Cybersecurity Solution
At Amnet, we take the cybersecurity of our clients seriously. We know that a single data breach can cause a loss of confidence in consumers, loss of revenue, and loss of a reputation you have spent many years creating for your business. Our cybersecurity solutions begin with educating you and your employees on the importance of strong passwords and multi-factor authentication and carry through to penetration testing, active network monitoring, and fully managed IT services. If you are ready to secure the online identity of yourself, your employees, your brand, and your reputation, contact Amnet today to get started.