For Cyber Awareness Month, the American CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) has defined four educational topics for discussion. These are under the “See Yourself in Cyber” theme, meaning they are under individual responsibility and possible to attain through awareness and practice.
Here are the topics:
- Recognize and Report Phishing
- Update Your Software
- Use Strong Passwords
- Enable Multifactor Authentication
Passwords are an evergreen topic in Security Awareness, so this week, we’ll cover it and remember how to build strong ones.
Password Security is Still Overlooked
“Do you have a secure and strong password?” – In an age when one study found that 19% of all business passwords are “easily compromised,” that’s a question you should be asking yourself regularly.
According to another study, about 35% of LinkedIn users have weak passwords (roughly 63 million people worldwide), putting them at risk of a cyber-attack in the future. As a result, most people may believe they have a strong password but they don’t.
What Makes a Strong Password?
Your password serves as the first line of defense against hackers. Therefore, you must learn how to create a strong password and put it into practice. A strong password is difficult to guess while also being simple to remember. It appears that the requirements for creating a strong password are becoming increasingly stringent. There is, however, a reason for it.
Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and the rise in data breaches means your password is almost certainly already out there on the internet. As a result, it’s risky to reuse a password (even if it’s a strong one). As a result, all of your passwords should be strong and unique.
Characteristics Of a Strong Password
A Strong Password Is At Least 20 Characters Long
The first step in creating a strong password is to make it long. Attackers can crack your password in 58 seconds if it is eight characters or less.
A Strong Password Uses Combination of Symbols
For added security, a strong password should include numbers, unique symbols, lowercase letters, and uppercase letters. During a brute force attack, hackers attempt to guess your password by trying every possible combination of letters. It becomes more difficult to guess because you create more possible combinations by having special characters and numbers in your password.
A Strong Password Does Not Contain Any Obvious Information
Hackers can easily track you down on the internet if you use your birthday, zip code, or address in your password.
A Strong Password Includes Easy-to-Remember Acronyms and Codes
A strong password must be memorable, or it will be useless. No, scribbling all of your passwords on a sticky note next to your computer or phone isn’t the same as remembering them. Use codes and acronyms related to specific things you can remember. To everyone except you, they’ll appear to be a random collection of letters, numbers, and symbols.
A Strong Password May Include a Passphrase
According to NIST’s guidelines, a passphrase works better than a password. It is extremely strong and easy to remember. Replace the key letter in the passphrase with symbols and numbers and you’ll have a unique password.
A strong password will go a long way toward protecting your personal information. Just keep in mind that the longer the password is, the better. Also, make sure you change your password on any other sites where you use it. Finally, if you suspect one of your accounts has been hacked, change your password immediately.
Remember that stolen or weak passwords are responsible for 80% of data breaches. Right-Hand Cybersecurity supports security awareness for all organizations, including secure password management, multi-factor authentication, and more.