Our digital world is reliant on passwords and will be for a long time. As the pandemic forced almost all aspects of life online, protecting privacy and staying safe on the web has become a time-sensitive and growing issue.
Passwords have a terrible reputation as the weak link in our approach to cybersecurity in many areas. However, the reality is that bad habits like password reuse are the real issue, not passwords themselves.
On World Password Day, take a moment to ‘observe the holiday’ by appreciating what good password practice can do for us if we use the right tools. Today, consider doing the following:
Using easy and weak passwords is a dangerous habit. Hackers can guess millions of iterations of these common words very easily. Recent research has revealed that arbitrary character requirements like capital letters and special character use, as well as required password changes, have been shown to result in weak and repeated passwords. If your password is something similar to ‘Password123!’ or ‘Administrator2021’, it’s time to change.
Password reuse is a bad common habit. Even if you have a complex password and use simple iterations of it for many accounts, you still make it very easy for bad actors to break into your digital world. Now is the time to stop reusing that favorite password you have, even if you think it’s secure.
If you’re concerned that one of your accounts might be compromised, or a third-party site may have been breached, there are ways to find out. By checking your passwords against a list of compromised credentials, you can react by changing passwords and reconfirming your accounts. You should especially take this step if there is one password that you’re using for multiple accounts. It might shock you to know that it’s quite likely to already have been part of a breach.
Manually turning on multifactor authentication for your important accounts can be an excellent way to help yourself. Enabling MFA is a beneficial step because no single factor can be considered completely secure on its own. While MFA doesn’t ‘fix’ the issue of weak and repeated passwords, it can help your accounts stay secure.
4. Set Up a Line of Defense at Home
An easy self-defensive strategy many people take is to password-protect their routers and/or get a virtual private network (VPN). With the confluence of work and leisure devices, and often multiple family member’s devices, all connected to the same network, it’s crucial to protect your router with a strong, unique, uncompromised password. This step is particularly apropos in 2021, a year still under the shadow of the pandemic, with many more folks than usual working from home and heavily relying on personal WIFI networks.
By keeping a finger on the pulse of cybersecurity, you can stay ahead of the curve, and keep your identity and accounts safe. Take five minutes regularly to read an article about best practices could mean safer accounts for you. Here are some top articles about password reuse, password hygiene, and MFA.
With billions of stolen passwords on the Dark Web, we need to be mindful of the risks that surround us. Let’s break the cycle of poor password hygiene that fuels data breaches and compounds the issues of account theft.
Strong, unique, and uncompromised are the only passwords you need.
Share this with someone you know who could use a reminder not to use the same password for everything! Happy World Password Day.