The practices that you learned about keeping passwords secure are now contending with more advanced security challenges and complexities than before. Many businesses have fallen victim to security breaches over the years, costing them thousands or even millions in damage. What ways are there to ensure your passwords stay safe? Consider the following tips and practices as you manage your accounts.
Place More Emphasis on Length
When it comes to password effectiveness, a longer one has more insurance than a randomly generated one. The equation is a simple one: the more characters, the harder it is to guess the password. Adding two more characters in place of a unique phrase can make the difference between an easy-to-guess password and a strongly secured one. Longer phrases help you save time as well since you spend less time thinking about creative expressions.
Think Outside the Box
A long password can be strong, but if the words contain familiar patterns and verbiage, then there is a vulnerability that hackers or bots can exploit. Another guideline is to avoid well-known phrases; these include films, famous fictional characters, sports teams, and the like. Common words make a password less secure, so ideally, a random string may be more preferred and likely to keep your account safe longer.
Do Not Stuff Special Characters
A growing number of websites and account managers require users to use passwords exhibiting a combination of alpha-numeric phrases and special characters. You can set up your passwords this way, but experts recommend that you do not place the special characters too close together. You can instead, put the digits and symbols in the middle of the password phrase. By doing so, you avoid a common habit that many users take, which is placing capital letters near the beginning of the word. The more you stray from the beaten path, the better your chances of not seeing unauthorized logins.
You may have an account that has been secured by a strong password over a couple of years. That may influence you to use that same password on a couple of other accounts. No matter how secure the individual password, there is always the risk that a hacker can access it and then be able to log in to your other accounts. Also, your passwords are also subject to the quality of the security of the websites that manage them. Should a massive breach happen, your various accounts are at risk of being compromised. With this in mind, use unique passwords for each of your accounts and anticipate the likelihood of a mass data breach.
Do not make Excessive Changes
You may be asked by experts to change your passwords every week, sometimes every day, but this is not as helpful a practice as it sounds. By having a strong, lengthy, and different password, you can maintain it for months or years before changing it again, and you can cut out the additional work you will have to invest in altering it every so often. Eventually, usually after a year, it makes more sense to change your password.
Avoid Impulsive Decisions
You can make your passwords safe by taking consistent action, but do not make reactionary decisions. There are stories out there that show how easy it is for hackers to access accounts. Do not allow these stories to influence you to make prompt but ill-advised decisions. Doing so may play into the hands of hackers and data thieves.
Add More Layers
Passwords, when set-up with the recommended practices, work just enough for securing accounts. If you have an account with sensitive information that you cannot afford to lose, you can add additional layers of protection to it. These include encryption, captcha verifications, and biometric identifiers, i.e., fingerprint scan. In addition to making sense, they provide extra benefits such as requiring fewer password changes and saving time adjusting security settings.
With the internet becoming more sophisticated and hosting more sensitive data, it is time to step up the game for online security. Having passwords is a fundamental step, but there are additional practices and tricks to follow to ensure they protect your accounts for years to come. Consider the tips above to sustain your accounts, maintain lasting security, and enjoy a peace of mind.