Strong business passwords can make all the difference to a business’s cyber security, but too often a weak password selection leads to network breaches. There are a few simple techniques that can increase password strength, but first, here’s a look at how they can be accessed.
How Are Passwords Hacked?
Cyber criminals use a number of ways to access valuable login details. Some of these cyber security threats include:
- Brute force attack – Using automated software, the hacker basically tries all password variations through a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Some hacker programmes can attempt billions of passwords per second, which is why password length is so important.
- Dictionary attack – Instead of using a combination of individual characters, this attacker tries various lists of words (as found in the dictionary) until the password is identified. This is why using common words is so risky.
- Phishing – Using an email or phone call, a cyber criminal will attempt to intimidate or trick you into revealing login details. This could be a link that takes you to a fabricated website where you have to enter your password.
How To Create Strong Passwords
Now that you know how the hackers can access your password, you need to work on how to increase your system’s cyber security with a strong password.
1. The Longer The Better
Your password should not be shorter than 15 characters. The length is critical, and anything under 15 is easy game for hackers.
2. Use A Mix Of Characters
When considering a password, incorporate upper- and lower-case, numbers and symbols in a random array. This provides necessary cyber security against a brute force attack.
3. Watch Out For Common Substitutions
Leetspeak is an informal cyber ‘language’ where letters are replaced with numbers or other characters, for example – ex@mp!3. Hackers are likely to crack leetspeak, which is why random character placement is much more effective.
4. Avoid Sequential Characters
It might seem obvious, but too often, a password incorporates sequential numbers and characters. Likewise, you shouldn’t use sequential keyboard paths, such as ‘qwerty’.
5. Try The Sentence Method
Also known as the ‘Bruce Schneier Method’, this encourages you to think of a random sentence with personal meaning, and then use this to create a single password. This can be done by taking the first few letters of each word to create something seemingly meaningless. For example: ‘The green house next door is very ugly’ could become ‘thgrhonedoisveug’. Then add in some upper cases, numbers and symbols to mix it up.
Keep Your Business Passwords Secure
Once you’ve established a secure set of business passwords, it’s important that you keep them safe. This means:
- Don’t reuse your passwords – Unfortunately, you have to come up with an original password for each new account.
- Don’t write passwords down – Although it’s tempting, these can be easily discovered in a workplace setting.
- Don’t share passwords – No matter how much you trust your colleagues, don’t share your passwords with them.
- Change passwords regularly – Keeping a password for an extended period will increase the risk of cyber threats.
Once you get into the habit of creating strong passwords, it becomes a lot easier. This way, you can be assured of enhanced cyber security in the workplace.