It may seem obvious enough but passwords are still the most common way to protect access to the many services you use every day. Passwords are used to authenticate your identity when accessing a system or service and help reduce unauthorised access to those services.
With billions of people currently accessing multiple systems every day, you need to make sure you secure access to these systems with a robust password. Everyone is familiar with passwords and PINs (Personal Identifier Number). The main issue we encounter is that these passwords and PINs are often too simple, frequently people us a date of birth or a pet name.
Ideally a password should be:
Long and unique – something that is not easy to guess
Memorable – easy enough to remember without making a physical note of it
If a system has a password or PIN requirement it is likely that someone will be trying to break into that system. A very basic example is someone trying to watch you enter your PIN over your shoulder, not the most subtle approach but still effective even now.
Dictionary attacks are an example of a simple encroachment. These include standard dictionary words and items such as lists of authors, place names etc… The attackers target these, as people are able to remember names and places rather than random letters, numbers and symbols.
Picking a sensible password
Strong passwords can be easier to remember than you may think! Never use a dictionary word (mentioned earlier) this is first thing someone attempting to attack your password will try.
To help get you started try and use the following to help you develop a potent password:
At least 10 characters long
Use uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols
Never use a dictionary word
Use a password checker to see how secure your password is. Kaspersky labs have a useful website for this – https://password.kaspersky.com/ it will also tell you how long it will take to crack it.
Use different passwords for different services. If you are compromised on one site you may well have all your service accounts attacked
Change the password frequently, ideally at least every 3 months
If you are not sure of what to use for your password – use a phrase or sentence to create a password. As an example, you could construct a password using the below phrase:
I went to university at Cambridge and gained a BSc in Computing in 1998. Your password could be:
As you can see, the password is taken using the first letter of each word, a symbol to replace ‘at’ and the year for the number.
If you are really struggling to create a sensible password, you could look at a password manager. Sites such as Last Pass save the hassle of you remembering passwords for online services and store the password in a secure vault. The sites can help create passwords too so you just need to remember a single password to access the vault.
Do bear in mind that if your password is compromised someone will have access to all your other passwords. Make sure it is secure and change it monthly.
HW Technology can help you on all aspects of your password processes and help you define a sensible password strategy for your business. Please contact us here, or call 0845 5048989 and we can arrange to discuss your requirements in more detail.
To find out more, please call us on 0845 504 8989, or complete our contact form.