Boost Your Cybersecurity with Password Best Practices


cybersecurityPasswords may be annoying, but they are key to protecting personal information and private documents. In a business context, cybersecurity guards financial data, intellectual property, trade secrets, customer lists, and more.

Passwords are cheaper and more convenient than other forms of authentication, but they can be cracked in a number of ways. User devices may be compromised with malware or a keylogger. Passwords can be ascertained using a word list or dictionary program that breaks the password by brute force. They can be deduced through sniffers, which look at raw data transmitted across the net and decipher its contents.

Knowing that passwords are vulnerable to cracking, it’s important to practice good password hygiene. Use these best practices for your own passwords, and instruct employees to do the same:

Don’t use common words, proper nouns, words with numbers tacked on, foreign words, or words that are written backward. Password-cracking programs are adept at processing letter and number combinations until a match is found.

A password should not include anything related to your name, nickname, the name of a family member, favorite team, or pet. It should not contain any recognizable numbers like phone numbers or addresses.

Increasing the number of characters in a password significantly enhances security. Each additional character multiplies the possible combinations, making the password far more difficult to break.

Choose passwords that are not easily guessable. Think in terms of passphrases rather than passwords. Choose a phrase that is easy to recollect, then convert some of the letters into other characters (e.g., substitute the number “3” for the letter “e”).

Avoid using the same password on multiple accounts, and never disclose a password to others unless they are authorized to have it.