According to Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the U.S. Homeland Security, “the password is the weakest link in cybersecurity.” While many people think that their passwords keep them safe, it turns out passwords don’t fully guarantee protection against hackers or online privacy. But if you can get smart with using secure passwords, you can minimize your risks of suffering attacks.
Major breach incidents that have made global headlines nearly always involve password security issues. The question is: how do you prevent your account info from being stolen? Well, you need to avoid making the following common password mistakes.
1. Using Overly Simple Passwords
Your password acts as a gate between your sensitive information and hackers. Not building complex passwords makes it easier for cyber criminals to get you. For example, using very short passwords is not recommended.
A few decades ago, five to six characters used to be the common length of passwords for the average computer. However, computing power doubles every two years in accordance with Moore’s Law, and so today, short passwords are almost as bad as not having a password at all.
To increase your password security, experts recommend that you increase your password length to a minimum of 10 to 12 characters. Simple passwords like 123456 or Abcdf can be easily exposed. Conversely, stronger passwords comprise a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. This means that setting your password to something like “wH@283/*&Bx” is much stronger than say “Abc123”.
2. Reusing Passwords
As your passwords become longer and more complex, you may be tempted to reuse your passwords across different accounts to save yourself from having to memorize different passwords.
Unfortunately, it’s a very bad idea to use one password to protect several online accounts. When a hacker succeeds in compromising one account, they can easily log in to your other accounts. Therefore, strive to create unique passwords for all your accounts.
3. Writing Down Your Passwords
The other problem with creating unique and complex passwords is that you may be tempted to write them down. But that’s not secure either. Snooping family members, burglars, and friends can bump into your password notebook. Also, when a natural disaster like a flood or fire strikes your house, you may lose your notebook for password security.
Instead of writing down your passwords in notebooks or computer documents, use a password manager to securely store all your passwords in one program.
4. Changing Your Passwords Too Frequently
There are popular opinions that people should change their passwords every three to six months. However, changing passports regularly is not always a smart decision.
You can change your password from time to time, but not too often. In fact, studies have shown that those who frequently change their passports end up making them 46% easier to guess. That said, you should always change your password when you suspect that it’s insecure.
5. Not Setting Password Protection on Mobile Devices
No matter how strong your password is, adding an extra layer of security is well worth it. Not setting password protection on mobile devices constitutes a regrettable password mistake.
If you are someone who easily forgets your passwords, set strong security questions and answers for your online accounts. And finally, make good use of multi-factor authentication codes like 2FA. These will deny unauthorized users from breaching your accounts even if they got your password right.
Avoid these common password mistakes and save your online accounts. If you want to secure your business, you can consult with a trusted IT company in Ventura or a location local to you for their managed IT and cybersecurity services.