Computer passwords aren’t something we pay much attention to.
When we get to the office in the mornings, we enter our username and password and then forget about our password again until the next day. However, with increasing concerns about cyber security, many people are now paying more attention to passwords as simple step toward improving computer security.Unfortunately, many people still aren’t aware how to create stronger passwords. This is why, for the last 8 years, SplashData has released an annual list of worst passwords. These are passwords that are incredibly weak and overused, making it a breeze for hackers to gain access to your computer files and more.
What were the worst passwords?
SplashData recently released its annual list of the Top 100 Worst Passwords of 2018. They gathered this information from more than 5 million leaked passwords. The top 10 on the list were:
Yes, that’s right; people are still using passwords like ‘password’. This is starting to be a bigger problem for businesses concerned about online threats and hackers. While using passwords like ‘123456’ might be easy to remember, it’s significantly easier for you to be hacked and have company information or your information or identity stolen. If you see your password on this list or anywhere on SplashData’s Top 100, it might be time to update your password.
What makes a password secure?
Password strength can make a huge difference when it comes to protecting information online. It’s important to ensure your business and personal information are secure, and the easiest first step to be secure is by creating a strong, unique password. Password cracking becomes a lot harder when you’ve created a strong, secure password. There are a number of factors that make a password stronger including:
The longer your password is, the more secure it is. It might not seem like an 8-letter password is much stronger than a 6-letter password but those extra two letters can make a huge difference. According to digicert:
- “A 6-character password with only [lowercase] letters has 308,915,776 possible combinations.
- An 8-character password with only [lowercase] letters has 208,827,064,576 possible combinations.”
By adding just a couple extra letters you can make your password much harder to crack.
2. Special characters
You might think it’s enough to have a really long password, but if you begin mixing upper and lowercase letters with numbers and special characters, you can vastly improve the strength of your password.
Digicert found that “an 8-character password with letters (upper & lower case) and includ[ing] numbers and symbols has 6,095,689,385,410,816 possible combinations.” Adding special characters and numbers into your password can go a long way toward improving your security.
3. Multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is quickly becoming a more popular way to improve login security. Essentially, this requires one additional step in authentication beyond the traditional username and password. This can include being sent an additional one-time password, using fingerprint recognition, swiping a card, or attaching a USB. However, these are also more time-consuming and costly solutions.
4. Master password
Many of us save passwords in our browsers because we simply can’t remember them all. Unfortunately, this is a really unsafe online practice. If you use Firefox, there’s a way to secure these save passwords. Firefox’s master password requires that you enter the master password before you can use any of the saved passwords. However, this still isn’t an ideal solution because, as a general rule, you should never have your passwords saved online.
5. Mix it up
Use different passwords for your logins. While it can be hard to remember a different password for every email, computer, and website login, you should try to avoid using the same password for everything. If you do use the same password, you’re making it much easier for hackers to steal sensitive information.
How to move away from bad passwords
The problem many businesses are now facing is how to deal with weak, insecure passwords. The best way to do away with weak passwords is to educate your employees. Many of them are probably unaware how simple it is to create a stronger password.
Your passwords are the first line of defence against data breach. Make sure your employees are using strong passwords that help protect your company’s information. If you’re concerned about network security give us a call; we can help set up a unique solution custom-built for your business.