Easy-to-remember passcodes are weak, as they can be easily hacked through simple brute-force attacks. Your password is the key to your digital world, protecting all of your digital accounts. A study conducted by Telstra and YouGov shows that a staggering 78% of the Australian population use the same password across multiple accounts, often unaware of the risks they expose themselves to. Reusing passwords increases the likelihood of being compromised and having your information stored in hackers’ databases.
The threat from cybercriminals has only heightened since the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly with the rise in remote working. The challenge of memorizing multiple passwords has led people to use the same password for both work and personal accounts.
This blog will explore how to create a strong password to enhance your digital security. But before we delve into that, let’s first understand what constitutes a weak password. Here are some examples of weak passwords
Password Mistakes = Weak Password
“I am strong because I know the weakness.”
Weak passwords are easy targets for hackers, making it essential to understand the factors contributing to their vulnerability. According to recent studies, over 50% of users repeat the same mistakes regarding password security. As cyber-attacks happen every second, prioritizing password security becomes crucial.
Here are some examples of what makes the passcode weak:
1234, 0000, 9876, ‘password’, 12345678, qwerty – these are some of the most common passwords used all over the globe. They are also easy for you to remember. Given that these passwords are so common, one could claim to know already the passcodes of more than 50% of people worldwide. If you are using any of these common passcodes, please change them immediately and create strong passwords.
Using Personal Information:
Creating passwords that incorporate your name, address, date of birth, pet’s name, birthplace, etc., makes them easier to remember. However, passcodes involving personal details are favourites for both users and hackers. Your personal details are often readily available on your social media, making these types of passwords particularly vulnerable.
Short and Simple Password:
Passcodes that are less than 10-12 characters long are considered short, yet many people still use ones like ‘12345678’. While these are simple, they fall short compared to the recommended standard. For these types of passwords, a hacker doesn’t even need to showcase much effort or skill. The length of a password helps determine its strength, as does its complexity. Try to create longer passwords every time you need to create them.
From these points, we understand what makes a password weak. These are a few things you should know before you create a password that’s strong enough to challenge a hacker. Let’s see how to create passwords that effectively protect our assets
Strong Password, Best Password
Use a Mix of Characters:
Learn how to create a secure password with a mix of characters. Use upper case, lower case, symbols, numbers, special characters, space, etc., in your password. For example, “Mounteverest123 to M0un!@€Veres!194%” use of mixed characters makes your passwords harder to crack.
Avoid Easily Guessable Information:
Random passwords are better than guessable passwords. Don’t use your personal information that can be easily found on social media. Use something unique, totally unrelated to you. Use a password generator to create a unique password for yourself. Also, try using a password manager for better password management if u have plenty of passwords to remember.
Avoid Password Reuse:
Reusing old passwords is a common yet dangerous practice that makes it easier for hackers to gain access if a single password is compromised. Using the same passcode across multiple accounts is risky. If one account is compromised, all of your other accounts become vulnerable. Ensure that you use different passwords for every login.
Passphrases are more extended and easy to remember than traditional passwords. Instead of using a single word, create a memorable phrase and modify it with numbers, symbols, and capitalization. For example, “I love eating ice cream” can become “1L0v3E@ting1ceCr3am!”. Passphrases add complexity and make it harder for hackers to crack your password. They are considered password best practices in 2023.
The longer your passcode, the stronger it becomes. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends a minimum passcode length of eight characters. However, aiming for at least 12 characters or more is even better. A longer passcode presents a greater challenge for hackers, as there are more possible combinations to guess.
Update Passwords Regularly:
Maintaining security requires the regular updating of your passwords. It’s recommended to change your passcodes every few months or in the event of a potential security risk. Remember to avoid reusing old passwords and always create unique, new, strong ones.
Use a Password Manager:
Consider using a password manager to generate, store, and autofill passwords for your accounts. Password managers can simplify the task of managing multiple complex passwords while keeping them encrypted and secure. All you need is one strong master password, such as “A2b!lov3@12009aliCEJ@#0K”, to keep all your other passwords safe and secure.
Don’t Share Your Password:
Never share your passwords with anyone, even with those closest to you, including your spouse, parents, friends, or teachers. If you do share your passcode, change it immediately, within just a few minutes. A simple mistake from a loved one could expose your passcode to others. This could potentially lead to financial and social danger and, in some cases, even pose a threat to your life – who knows?
Enable Two-Factor Authentication:
After creating your unique and strong password, you can further secure it using two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA provides an additional layer of security to your accounts by requiring a secondary form of verification, such as a code sent to your mobile device. You must authenticate yourself with a One-Time Password (OTP) every time you log in from a new device. An OTP can’t be reused, thereby preventing others from discovering your password
Keep yourself updated on the latest security practices and news to adapt your passcode security accordingly. Look for any vulnerabilities in your services and take the appropriate actions to protect your accounts.
Most Common Password Security Threats
The passwords that secure us are also vulnerable to various threats. In today’s digital era, everything is susceptible in one way or another, and passwords are no exception. Here are five points explaining common password security threats:
Attackers use fraudulent emails, messages, or websites to trick users into revealing their passwords. Protect against phishing by verifying the sender’s identity, double-checking URLs, and being cautious of suspicious requests for personal information. If you accidentally click those emails, links or websites, set a new password for every password remembered on your device.
In these attacks, cybercriminals intercept communication between two parties to obtain passwords. You can prevent this by enabling encryption on routers, using trusted networks, and utilizing secure Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
Brute Force and Dictionary Attacks:
In these types of attacks, cybercriminals attempt to crack passwords by systematically trying various combinations until they find the correct one. Protect against these attacks by using strong passwords that include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using common dictionary words or easily guessable patterns.
Attackers leverage leaked or stolen credentials from previous data breaches to gain unauthorized access to accounts. Protect against credential stuffing by regularly changing passwords, using a unique password for each account, and implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA).
Malicious software captures keystrokes, enabling attackers to steal passwords. Protect against keyloggers by keeping your software and antivirus programs updated, being cautious when downloading suspicious files or programs, and regularly performing system checks.
In conclusion, the world of digital security is fraught with threats, from password cracking efforts like brute force attacks and phishing to keyloggers and credential stuffing. However, by adhering to good security practices, you can create stronger passwords that are more resistant to these threats. Remember the importance of password length and complexity in creating a secure passcode. Don’t reuse the same password across multiple accounts; diversify to keep potential breaches contained. Use tools like password managers to help manage your passwords securely. Storing passwords in such a secure, encrypted format will help further safeguard your digital assets. Finally, always stay updated on the latest security trends and threats. By being informed and proactive, you can maintain a robust defence against cyber threats and ensure your digital world remains secure.