Weak passwords are a huge security risk to any business, as they are the only thing standing between hackers accessing your confidential data. You wouldn’t leave the door to your business open, would you? Yet, many of us are guilty of using the same password for multiple accounts, the equivalent of leaving the door wide open to physical theft.
As passwords are usually the weakest security link within an organisation’s network (we are sure you’ve heard about the recent bout of cyber hacks!), we’ve put together some essential tips to help you keep your passwords safe and therefore your business!
As a rule of thumb, a weak password is short (less than 8 characters) and uses only letters, while a strong password is longer (at least 11 characters) and uses a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters (*&^). To keep your passwords strong, keep in mind these simple rules:
- Don’t ever use ‘password’
- Don’t use common passwords
- Don’t use single/paired words that hackers can find in the dictionary (they have dictionary-based tools to try all of them!)
- Don’t use a derivative of your name
- Don’t use personal information that hackers can find on Facebook
- Don’t use easy combinations of numbers (e.g 123456)
- Don’t ever write your passwords down or give them to anyone else
Keep Your Passwords Safe with These 10 Tips
1) Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers
Passwords that are as meaningless and random as possible are the hardest to crack!
2) Change your password regularly, at least every 3 months
Make sure not to reuse any old passwords. To make them easier to remember, try adding the month and year at the end and update it every couple of months. You’ll also be aware how old the password is as well this way!
3) Use different passwords for different sites
This may seem like common sense but it’s surprising how much we all reuse the same password for things. While this makes it easier for us to remember, this also makes it easier for a hacker to access every account that you use it for!
4) Consider using a password manager such as LastPass or RoboForm
If you have too many passwords to remember, rather than writing them down, use a password manager that encrypts and stores your passwords for you! These systems secure all your passwords safely for you, they enter them automatically for you, and you only have to remember one master password to access the programme.
5) Create long passwords using phrases
You are more likely to remember phrases and you can use both upper and lowercase letters, such as “LiveAndLetDie” or “WhoDaresWins.”
6) To make your passwords more complex, add on a simple number sequence
Once you have your phrase, make your password harder by adding 3 or 4 numbers. Think of a combination that only you know and add that onto all your passwords, e.g “LiveAndLetDie007.”
7) Choose a password that you can type quickly
If your password takes a while to type or you can only do it slowly, a potential hacker could watch you type it and know your password for later.
8) Implement a password-protected screen saver
If your job involves you leaving your work station every now and then, a password-protected screen saver will ensure that no one can access your computer if you haven’t logged off. When possible, always try to log off or lock your computer (CTRL + ALT + DEL) before you step away.
9) Don’t click “yes” to save passwords on websites
For extra safety, it is always better to remember your passwords rather than save them. Choose a password that you can commit to memory or store them in a reliable password programme!
10) The best password combination: create a password phrase that you can customise for each website!
Choose a long phrase that you can remember, such as “I want to go to France” and abbreviate it by using the first letter of each word and change the “to” to 2 – “iw2g2f.” Lastly, add in the first letter of the website at the beginning of the phrase and the last letter at the end of the phrase to make it unique! E.g Facebook – “Fiw2g2fK” – or Gmail – “Giw2g2fL.”
In every business, there is confidential and sensitive information that needs to be stored and protected. Therefore, all employers need to stress the importance of data protection and teach their employees how to be safe, and employees need to put these precautions into practice. Only once we all acknowledge this security issue and take responsibility for how we can contribute to crime prevention, will cyber security start to become less common.
Think of your passwords as your digital keys and keep your online property safe!
What we can do for you:
If you’re interested in knowing more about threat awareness training for your staff, RGM are offering training courses developed by Counter Terrorism and Threat Specialists. If you need training or just advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Check out our other articles to keep every aspect of your business safe: