A password can secure an account and prevent unauthorized usage. Could hackers guess your log-in credentials? In a recent survey of passwords of Western Australian government officials, some interesting password statistics were discovered. Almost 1,500 employees used "Password123" as their log-in credential. Even more, almost 13,000 used variations of the date and season and almost 7,000 used versions of "123." Immediately, I thought of the passwords used through-out my life between personal and work. Memories of passwords that were shared among co-workers because it was easier than creating separate accounts came. Also, I thought of the times that I've seen "Spring2016" etc. type of passwords used. I can now recognize the importance of stronger log-in credentials and some of the necessary steps to take.
The Oldest Password Mistake
How many hacks have you heard of that were as a result of re-use of sign-in credentials? Re-using them is a cybercriminal's dream come true. They've somehow hacked one password and soon they discover they can access multiple accounts. If hackers are watching your keystrokes then you may not want to find yourself typing in the same credentials frequently. It's poor security to use weak passwords on a personal level, but companies must mandate a log-in credentials policy to protect their data. The use of multi-factor authentication will help to secure passwords as well.
Another mistake many employees make is using dictionary words in their password. A few characteristics of complex sign-in credentials will include a combination of lower and upper-case letters, numbers, and special characters, while not including any type of dictionary word or any proper noun. Another security measure to consider is the length of the password. Try to think of things that people could guess about you from your social platforms. Make sure that hackers cannot guess the answers to your security questions by watching your social activity. Hackers could hack your email and then click "forgot your password" to get access to other accounts. Have strong security questions, along with original passwords unique to each account. Again, don't forget about enabling multi-factor authentication as an added layer of security.
Security Requires Layers of Protection
Although there's no guaranteed solution to prevent hackers from gaining access to accounts, practicing several security measures with log-in credentials is a must. Have a written policy for your company about password requirements and delegate someone to manage the policy. Train your employees to understand what makes a secure password and why they need to follow all requirements and procedures around password policies. TechGuard offers S.H.I.E.L.D. Security Awareness Training Courses to help educate your employees. We can manage the training solution for your company and provide reports and analytics to show the increase cybersecurity awareness. Educate, empower and secure your company.
Written by Michelle Stamps
Michelle has over 10 years of experience in marketing and business development across various industries including government and non-profit. Her background in writing, facilitating presentations and event planning allows her to use her creative skill-set and her relationship building skills strengthens her ability to understand the human element role in cybersecurity and to support positive behavior change. Whether she is out in the community, blogging or developing the next social post for TechGuard, she believes in telling the company’s story and uses relatable, real-life examples to connect with our clients. If you know Michelle outside of work, you would know that she loves sunny days and tropical places.