Passwords have become an essential part of our daily lives and are the primary guardians of our privacy, personal data, and finances. However, the complacent use of passwords has made them easy to guess or crack, making our personal information vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.
To raise awareness about the importance of strong passwords and encourage individuals and organisations to take steps to improve their password security, World Password Day is observed every year.
According to research, although 91 per cent of people know that using the same password on multiple accounts is a security risk, 66 per cent still continue to use the same password.
Therefore, it is important to set guidelines for passwords that prevent password spraying. Long passwords with a good mix of different character types, including letters, numbers, and special characters, are much harder to guess than short ones.
For example, an 8-character password is easier to guess by a computer than a 16- or 24-character password.
One of the easiest ways to improve password security is to avoid using vulnerable passwords that are easily guessed or already compromised.
A simple Google search for “commonly used passwords” will provide a list that any attacker can use when trying to guess passwords.
If there is a default password on an internet-facing device or even internally, it is crucial to change it immediately.
Another way to improve password security is to avoid reusing passwords. While it may be challenging to remember multiple passwords, using a passphrase option can create unique passwords that are easy to remember.
However, it is also important to be wary of password managers, as some have been hit by cyberattacks multiple times, although they can still be a viable option.
Organisations can require password updates at set frequencies as a standard operating procedure for business risk reduction. It may be a hassle, but it helps secure the organisation if a set of credentials is stolen or phished.
Additionally, using multi-factor authentication methods can provide additional security. If a password is stolen or guessed, having other methods to confirm the user’s identity is crucial. Many cloud, security, and operating system vendors have a multi-factor authentication app that can be installed on a user’s phone to link to almost every website that supports it.
In conclusion, by taking these simple but effective measures, individuals and organisations can help improve their password security and protect their online accounts and personal information. Furthermore, intelligent, automated, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven security operations centers can provide a stronger cybersecurity posture.
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