How to improve password security

Whether you are using passwords for your personal or business accounts, it is key to remember that the humble password is the first line of defence against cyber attacks.

Despite advances in technology, the password has a vital role to play in the protection of your device and users should never underestimate the value of good cyber hygiene.

That said, the top passwords of 2019 have been revealed and you may be shocked by the results.  Many users are still choosing “password” and “123456” as a password, according to SplashData’s top 25 most common passwords.

The choices you make regarding passwords are up to you. If you are unsure how to improve password security, we have listed our top tips below.

 

Password management

Using the same password for multiple accounts is extremely dangerous and it makes you an easy target for hackers, as breaking one password will enable them to infiltrate and access many of your details.

Having different passwords will reduce the risk of a hacker accessing different accounts. A password management tool can help business users to remember and store their different passwords.

According to password management tool LastPass “the average employee struggles with nearly 200 credentials to keep track of.” Using a tool like this means you will only need to create one super-secure password for all your passwords to be stored securely in the one place.


Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can give better protection to your most sensitive details.

MFA means that you need to take more than one step to access your information. For example, you may have to use a password, a fingerprint or facial recognition scan and have a code sent to your mobile phone to verify that it is you that is trying to access an account.

 

Avoid dictionary words

Cyber criminals will try everything to access your account and one of the most popular ways of doing it is the “dictionary attack”.

This is when a hacker use software to systemically enter every word in a dictionary to figure out a password. That is why adding different numbers and symbols and capitalisations to your passwords is so important.

 

Personal information is a giveaway

In the past it was common for users to create passwords using the name of a spouse or pet, their hometown or birthplace. However, using social media, hackers can work these out easily. Try to steer clear of this and use the “think random” approach which is recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre. On their website, the organisation advises that you should “create passwords using three random words. You just put them together, like ‘coffeetrainfish’ or ‘walltinshirt’.”

 

Update your passwords regularly

This is a requirement for many business users as it can help you to stay ahead of the hackers.

Even if you update your passwords regularly, it is important that you also change your credentials after a service discloses a security incident, if there is evidence of unauthorised access to your account or malware has compromised your device.

 

Stay protected with Cyber Essentials

Password protection is one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your business and is an integral part of the Cyber Essentials certification process.

Cyber Essentials is one of the simplest security methods to implement in your organisation. It is a government-accredited scheme which helps organisations protect themselves against 80% of the most common cyber attacks. Best of all, you can implement some of the steps to safe cyber security today.

Get Certified