Another week of October is another week of National Cybersecurity Awareness week! This week, we wanted to discuss passwords! Passwords are the first line of defense in cybersecurity. They are a series of characters in a specific order that, ideally, only you should know. They are required to gain access to an account, however, despite their importance, passwords are often overlooked as simply an annoyance users have to deal with and are often not taken seriously. Statistics show that 80% of data breaches are a direct result of poor passwords. "Poor password" practices usually suggest simple passwords, reused passwords, or both.
A good password is one that is long (over eight characters), uses a mix of upper and lower case letters and numbers, uses special characters (like ! @ # $ etc.), and is not easy to guess, meaning it does not contain any personal information. Achieving a strong password can be done by thinking less of a password and more in terms of a passphrase. To do this, use an entire phrase or sentence, including symbols and numbers. Additionally, you should avoid reusing the same password repeatedly or making an updated password simply a minor variation of an old password, as that makes them much easier to guess and break into multiple accounts if one password gets compromised. Many often worry about their ability to remember many different passwords, but there are tools to assist with that. Password managers are a safe way of storing all of your passwords in a digital format, but be sure to use Multifactor Authentication on that account! While you could simply write all your passwords down, this is poor practice, as anyone can read your passwords by just looking at your writings, while password managers tend to be much more difficult for unauthorized users to access.
So long as passwords are still in use, we will need to make sure to put some effort required into creating them, so they actually protect our data. Creating and managing passwords does not have to be a hassle either, as there are tools that can do both for you.
We highly recommend you get our Cybersecurity Essentials for Business Owners to understand the state of cybersecurity in today's climate.
You can also check out the cybersecurity self-assessment, where you can see if your network is up to par! We help you find the holes in your company's network, and we'll even help you audit your network if you want to go through the assessment with us!
Remember: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.