If you’re using good Identity Access Management techniques, your employees should only have access to the data and applications they need to do their jobs properly. But if passwords aren’t up to snuff, unauthorized persons could still enter with relative ease.
You should make sure your passwords are quite hard to crack. Given below are a few easy — yet essential — tips to managing passwords properly.
#1. Never share your password.
Your password should be yours and yours alone. Do not tell it to anyone, even your most trusted friends. There is always the chance they might leak it accidentally.
#2. A password should be long enough.
The longer a password is, the stronger it is. Short passwords may be convenient because they are easy to remember and quick to input, but they are also easy to guess. Most websites today require passwords of at least eight characters. It would be better if you make yours at least 10 characters long.
#3. A password should contain a mix of character types.
Just making a password long is not enough, your password should contain numbers, upper case letters, and symbols to increase complexity and make the password harder to crack.
#4. DON’T YOU DARE use “password” or “123456”
This falls into the category of “so dumb you’d barely think it’s worth mentioning,” but brace yourself and have a look at 2014’s list of most commonly used passwords. In a world where “password”, “123456”, and “qwerty” make up some of the 5 most commonly used passwords, we’re all doomed.
Also, it bears mentioning that your password should not contain any easily guessed personal information such as your nickname, your birthday, pets’ or kids’ names, etc.
#5. Base your password on a sentence (or a song lyric).
Want your password to be unique (but easily memorable)? Using a full sentence that is easy for you to recall as an inspiration may make things a lot easier. Let’s look at “I love soda pop”. Using character replacement, misspelling, and random caps, you can derive “!h<3rts0daPaP”.
Similarly, you can use a song lyric to come up with an acronym that looks like garbage (but is simple to remember).
“No, I don’t want no scrub. A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me.” = 0Idwns.Asiagtcgnlfm.
#6. Use auto-generated passwords.
If you are scratching your head trying to think of a password that even the people closest to you cannot guess, then you can use a program to create a strong password for you.
#7. Avoid using a password repeatedly.
You should practice using a password only once so that even if it gets cracked, your other accounts remain safe since they are protected by a different password. If you are using passwords that follow a similar format, add one or two unique characters for each. If you will be using a pattern for the additional characters, make sure that the pattern is hard to guess. Remembering multiple passwords might be a hassle, but its benefits are well worth it.
#8. Utilize multi-factor authentication.
You can use services that add one or more layers of identity verification for your accounts. For example, you can get a service that sends your mobile device a verification code whenever your account is accessed from an unfamiliar device. This way, even if an unauthorized person knows your username and password, he will still not be able to access your account from his device because he does not know the verification code. Receiving the code also serves as a warning that you should immediately change your current password.
#9. Use a password on your phone and other devices as well
All the devices you use to access your accounts should also be kept secure. This will help keep your log-ins safe if your device gets lost or stolen.
#10. Use password managers
This one is the most effective albeit it requires an annual payment. LastPass Premium, one of the most popular ones in the market, costs $12 a year. A password manager is often installed as an add-on to your browsers so it can capture and replay the passwords that you use. The next time you visit a site, the password manager will fill in your username and password for you. It can also remember personal data you write on web forms so they can fill in your credentials for you. Most password managers also have password generators for people who want to change their passwords frequently such as each week. A password manager also syncs on all devises.
Use as many of the above tips as possible when deciding on your password. Taking a few minutes longer to finalize a password can save you a lot of trouble in the future. Make sure your password is strong enough and your chances of keeping your accounts safe will increase exponentially.