As technology has become a daily part of most people’s lives, password security has been taken for granted. People get busy with their lives and jobs, making it tempting to use simple passwords that are quick to use and easy to remember. Nobody thinks they’ll become the victim of a cyberattack. If no harm has been done so far, it’s natural to assume that your passwords are secure enough.
Yet, all it takes is one person to make a hole for an attack which can cause extensive damage to any company. Small businesses are especially vulnerable, as they’re over three times more likely to be targeted by cybercriminals than larger corporations. When it comes to cybersecurity, the effort by every employee is important, and password security is no exception.
Check the Strength of Your Password
When creating a new password, be mindful of how easy it would be to guess. Most hackers aren’t putting in just common passwords or personal information of the targeted group. They’re able to test many combinations forcefully. Given enough time, they will eventually uncover most types of shorter passwords. Online tools like those available at Security.org can rate how secure a password is, making it useful when making a new
Data Breaches Can Leak Secure Passwords
Even if you’re using a secure password, data breaches can bypass that effort. In 2021, there were 4,145 publicly known data breaches, with an average cost of $4.35 million. The longer you have a password, the more likely it is to get leaked online. In situations like that, hackers will make more focused attempts by crosschecking old passwords on current accounts to see if it’s being used elsewhere. Due to that, not only is having a solid password necessary but having a unique password for each account is also beneficial.
A Secure Password Doesn’t Have to Be Changed Often
The weaker the password, the more often you must change it. Conversely, a more secure password doesn’t have to be changed frequently. Once it reaches a certain point of complexity and length, it isn’t easy for it to be uncovered. That means the main risks come in other forms, like keyloggers, data breaches, and poor password storage habits. While changing a strong password once every 3-6 months is fine, it’s worth doing it more often if you’re comfortable with it. Don’t wait more than a year.
If you see suspicious activity on an account or a breach is announced, always change the password immediately. However, 36% of people assume their accounts aren’t valuable enough to be hacked. Never think that your account doesn’t have enough access to the right areas. That mindset has contributed to 60% of small businesses shutting down after a data breach or cyberattack.
The Challenge of Memorizing Long Passwords
IT experts often recommend long and unique passwords that use a variety of letters and characters. In theory, making a password that’s tough for hackers to uncover shouldn’t be difficult. However, a strong password isn’t of much use if you can never remember what it is. That’s led to people using much simpler passwords because it’s easy, not because there’s a lack of desire to stay secure. Combine that with needing a separate password for each account, and it’s harder for the user.
Password managers like 1password offer a nice middle ground to this problem. You can connect all your account credentials to it and then have it fill it in automatically. That means you can make passwords as difficult as you want without memorizing them. When prompted to log into any connected account, you only need to remember one password: the one used to access the password manager.
Make Sure Your Passwords Are Secure Enough
Password security often goes under the radar compared to bigger issues. It can be one of many contributing factors that allow cybersecurity threats to gain access to sensitive systems. Never assume that your accounts don’t have enough value to impact your company if hacked. Even something as simple as access to your email can reveal key information, whether it’s internal documents or identifying data that contributes to a bigger scheme. By ensuring your passwords are secure enough, you’ll reduce the chance of you or your employer getting hacked.