Passwords – Do’s and Don’ts – What’s Necessary?

Here’s a quick test – what do these seemingly random alphanumerical groupings have in common?

 

  1. 123456                                                                           6. 11111
  2. password                                                                       7. 1234567
  3. 123456789                                                                    8. sunshine
  4. 12345678                                                                      9. qwerty
  5. 12345                                                                           10. Iloveyou

 

If you recognize any of these passwords, you’re not alone in fact you are a part of 2018’s most common passwords and though that sounds like a good thing you may be testing your luck when it comes to being compromised.

Creating and remembering passwords has become increasingly more challenging. It is estimated that the average person must memorize up to 191 different passwords. No wonder we often choose to take shortcuts!

The problem is, over 80% of hacks are due to compromised credentials, otherwise known as stolen username and password information that is often traded on the dark web. In fact, in one month alone in 2018, Microsoft blocked 1.3 million attempts to steal password data, which would have led to dangerous phishing attacks and other hacking attempts.

These statistics are why you hear the recommendations:

Pay attention to that last stat: 50% of all attacks involved the top 25 most used passwords. See what I meant when I said if you recognized anything on that list, you’re testing your luck?

Following all these rules and regulations, you’ll end up with passwords that are about 16-characters long, impossible to memorize, and, unfortunately, are still completely hackable (much more difficult, of course, but where there is a will, there is a way). So, what do we do now?

Password Manager

The first shortcut is a password manager. You can store all your passwords in one place. This makes remembering passwords easier. Our suggestion – use a program such as LastPass. It’s a safe place to store passwords without worry.

Multi-factor authentication

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security system that requires more than one method

of authentication from independent categories of credentials to verify the user’s identity for a login

or other transactions.

Many sites utilize multi-factor authentication. This extra layer of protection connects to your phone, email, or another authentication source, rather than relying solely on a password. We recommend enabling multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Need help setting this up? Call us.

Random Password Generators

These sites come up with secure passwords for you but are typically a random jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols.

How to craft the best password

Use a “Password Phrase” in place of random letters, numbers and symbols. Create something that’s easy for YOU to remember, but has no meaning to anyone else.

Breaking this down, you get: 7h!$C4n63g00d

This example is easy for you to remember because you created the phrase but difficult for a hacker to decipher because it’s not real words. Hackers use what is called a dictionary attack so if passwords have any real words they can scan for them in seconds.

Bad Password Patterns Is It Memorable? Time To Crack
A common word (example: december) Yes. 18 milliseconds
The family dog (example: rusty) Yep. 27 milliseconds
An important number, such as a date or zip code (example: 03261981) It’s memorable to you, certainly. 2.213 seconds

There’s no time like the present to get started and change your easy-to-hack passwords to something safer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Work at creating passwords that will be difficult to hack.

Worried about your information already being available due to past weak password use? Contact us. We’ll run a scan that reveals your vulnerabilities.