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Password Security

What makes password security so important?

17th April 2020 | In Security
 
Passwords are commonplace; we need them to access our phones, computers, websites, social media, banking apps and plenty more.

When a password serves to safeguard things like your credit card information, it is easy to see it’s importance. However, we often overlook their importance for simpler things, such as our email boxes.

When you consider the astounding amount of information that is passed, via email – it’s staggering. For example, have you ever needed to reset a password for something vital, like your bank account, only to find that the reset criterion simply involves following a link that was sent to your email?

The idea of someone accessing your private emails and finding a way to access even more sensitive data by proxy is not only terrifying but preventable.

How can I protect myself?

Protecting yourself is as easy as creating unique, mixed symbol passwords not easily figured out from basic details of your life.

It might seem like a great idea, not to mention convenient, to use your daughter’s (or son’s, or pet’s etc.) name and birthday for all your passwords. Indeed, many people are guilty of doing just that.

Unfortunately, personal information can easily be guessed by people who know you or be discovered by strangers online.

Hackers know all the typical combinations of passwords people use and are well-versed in looking up the details to trial-and-error their way into your private information.

Keeping your passwords strong is vital to your digital safety, but it isn’t enough. You need unique passwords for each of your devices, apps, and websites. That way, if a hacker manages to discover one of your passwords, they won’t immediately gain access to everything else.

But how can I remember all my passwords?

We have a lot of passwords these days and keeping them all unique and secure can be a lot to handle. The idea of trying to remember them all or writing them down or finding a way to keep them secure digitally causes many people to fall back into the pattern of using the same password everywhere.

One way to keep track of your passwords is to use a password manager that will keep your login information organized and safe, while offering you instant login capabilities. VPNpro.com can help you find the best password managers available in today’s market.

So, what does a strong password look like?

A strong password needs to be a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols that does not directly correlate to common information about yourself. Each site will have its own rules for what is required, as well as what is permitted. Here are some tips to creating a strong password:
  • Use a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters
  • Place numbers and symbols in the middle of the password, not just at the end
  • Take advantage of special characters supported (e.g. $, &, @, etc.)
  • Opt for a longer password (it is always better than a shorter one)
  • Don’t use your children’s or significant other’s names
  • Use different passwords for each of your websites, apps, devices, etc
  • Don’t use sequential numbers as a password
  • Don’t use ‘password’ as a password
  • Don’t use dictionary words as passwords

If a hacker targets me, how will a different password really stop them?

There are multiple levels of hackers. A hacker could be an angry Ex wanting to send inappropriate messages to your business associates while pretending to be you. This is a great example of someone who might take advantage of passwords that include family names and dates. When we think of hackers though, we typically aren’t thinking of our scorned exes or disgruntled former co-workers but rather, we tend to think about the for-profit cybercriminal desperate to steal your identity and money.

Hackers use multiple methods to crack passwords. They can go through a spreadsheet of millions of commonly used passwords called a dictionary. Or, they can use brute force attacks that consist of trying every possible combination based on your password’s length. If a hacker uses a rainbow table, they are comparing the encrypted version of common passwords against yours to decode your password.

Professional hackers have so many attack vectors that it’s both frightening and difficult to defend against. But increasing your password by even one digit significantly increases the difficulty for a hacker to discover your password. Two additional characters can be the difference between a hacker discovering your information in four months versus two centuries.

In conclusion

If you are going to survive in today’s digital world, you need to know some basic rules stay safe.

Passwords are the lock and key to your private information and paramount to your cyber safety, but your passwords are only as strong as you make them. Keep these guidelines in mind when creating your passwords and know your information is secure.

Ross Campbell Head of Security, Hardware

To ensure you are kept secure, our highly skilled technical team work with you to combat any threats you encounter. Using the latest security products, we can provide a level of protection that’s essential for today’s environment.
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